What North Korea tricked out as a video of its triumphant launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile was actually a rerun, according to some experts.
On Thursday, North Korea launched an ICBM that splashed into the ocean off the coast of Japan. Speculation emerged that this was North Korea’s Hwasong-17, first shown to the world in 2020. The rocket was supposed to be the successor to the Hwasong-15 and capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
But although no one contests that there was a launch, some parts of a video released by North Korea were from a different date, according to Reuters.
“Multiple pieces of visual evidence suggest North Korea’s version of events is misleading at best, and possibly a complete fabrication of a successful Hwasong-17 test at worst,” reported NK Pro, a Seoul-based research website that tracks North Korea, according to Reuters.
The NK Pro report said that the missile footage could have been from March 16, when North Korea launched a missile that exploded in midair shortly after launch.
Michael Duitsman, with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said there are strong hints from the video that the launch shown was from March 16, when the test was conducted in the morning, rather than Thursday, when it was conducted in the afternoon.
The TEL's shadow matches a morning launch much better than an afternoon launch. pic.twitter.com/2uzYo02G52
— Michael Duitsman (@DuitsyWasHere) March 25, 2022
The shadow of the launch vehicle “matches a morning launch much better than an afternoon launch,” he said on Twitter.
“While this does not mean that the March 24 test was a Hwasong-15, it does raise questions,” Duitsman said.
The Hwasong-17 has been tested, but not at full range or capability, according to U.S. and South Korean officials.
Reports in South Korean media have suggested the older Hwasong-15 was launched last week, and not the newer missile.
And here's the obligatory slow-motion walk to inevitable glory pic.twitter.com/V74i5w44ev
— Shreyas Reddy (@shreyas_k_reddy) March 25, 2022
“According to respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, this was another miraculous victory for the safety of our motherland and eternal well-being of all descendants despite all kinds of difficulties and hardships,” the announcer in the video said, the Post reported.