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Kim's missile developers receive a hero's parade as North Korea celebrates the launch of its longest-range rocket yet in huge step forward in creating a nuke that can hit America

May 19, 2017 7:59 AM
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Thousands of men lined the streets of Pyongyang to give scientists and workers behind North Korea's latest missile test a hero's welcome.

Pictures from the despotic state showed hundreds of developers wearing military garb and saluting giant statues of late leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il that dominate the centre of the capital.

Others showed residents waving red flags and artificial flowers as they turned out to greet a convoy of buses carrying the workers.

Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, praised those responsible for the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile for showing the world 'the strength of the powerful self-reliant nuclear state'.

'People's enthusiastic welcome for defence science warriors,' ran a front-page headline in the newspaper, alongside pictures of the developers of what appears to be its longest-range ballistic missile.

On Sunday, North Korea test-fired what analysts say was its longest-range rocket yet as it accelerates efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

Pyongyang has long had missiles that can reach targets across the South -- the 500 kilometre Scud -- and Japan, the 1,000-1,300 kilometre Rodong.

But with an imputed range of 4,500 kilometres the Hwasong-12 puts US bases on the Pacific island of Guam within reach.

Leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw the launch and warned of 'the worst-ever disaster' if the US provoked the secrative state, claiming it is in 'range of (nuclear) strikes', according to Rodong Sinmun on Monday.

But there are questions over whether Pyongyang can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, or has mastered the re-entry technology needed to ensure it survives returning into Earth's atmosphere.

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year.


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