South Korean media is reporting that Korean intelligence as well as US intelligence are closely monitoring the movement of an ultra-large intercontinental ballistic missile along with four mobile launchers by the north.
The Korean Herald describes, citing a Seoul government official, “South Korean and US intelligence have spotted North Korea moving an intercontinental ballistic missile, along with four mobile launchers, at an auto plant on the outskirts of Pyongyang, a Seoul official told a local media outlet on Saturday.”
The official said, “The missile is larger than the one they fired in 2017 and we believe they will showcase that at a military parade on Oct. 10,” the official said.
That 2017 test had been the Hwasong-15, widely considered the most powerful missile North Korea tested to date, and purported to be capable of hitting anywhere on the continental United States.
Korea watchers say that Seoul is deeply concerned that Pyongyang could be readying the unveiling of an even more advanced, larger ICBM.
There's also of course the sensitive timing of President Trump's admission to Walter Reed Hospital after becoming sick with COVID-19. A Friday report in Politico cited US intelligence and Pentagon officials who say they are closely monitoring how America's rivals and enemies "react" to Trump's coronavirus diagnosis, and to ensure they don't "exploit" the situation.
One former CIA officer emphasized that "Our enemies will see us in a vulnerable state." The report specifically cited heightened US intelligence monitoring of China, North Korean, Iran, and Russia.
Also of note is that Kim Jong Un on Saturday sent a message for President Trump and the First Lady, wishing them a speedy recovery from COVID-19, according to state media. “He sincerely hoped that they would recover as soon as possible. He hoped they will surely overcome it,” the Korean Central News Agency said. “He sent warm greetings to them.”
But could the unveiling of a new ICBM at this moment of the US Commander-in-Chief being vulnerable and possibly less than ready to deal with such a threat erase these warm feelings sent by Kim?