(Bloomberg) -- North Korea released video of its new system to launch missiles from trains, offering a multitude of camera angles that show its capabilities, and underscoring Kim Jong Un’s push to increase the production value of state propaganda.
The video starts with a shot from a drone flying over train tracks that lead into a tunnel. From there, two reddish-bronze train carriages emerge pushed by a locomotive. The airborne drone footage captures men in what appear to be matching beige jumpsuits leaving a carriage, while the roof from one carriage is retracted and a missile rises.
The video of the test Wednesday of two short-range ballistic missiles then displays four different angles of one of the launches, including one from overhead, followed by shots of how the missile was set into position on the train. It was North Korea’s first test of ballistic missiles since March, and followed what Pyongyang said was a test of new, long-range cruise missiles over the weekend.
“We have established a railway mobile missile regiment that enhances our ability for simultaneous and concentrated strike on our threats, and better respond to various threats,” a state TV announcer said over the video.
Quick edits of videos shot from a variety of angles that include drones are a far cry from parades under former leader, Kim Jong Il. Back then, there was little variation in the shots and soldiers could be seen moving heavy movie cameras into position by hand, reinforcing the impression that North Korea wasn’t just isolated, but stuck in the past.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the leader, likely has had a role in this change from her position in the state’s propaganda department, which manages the messages that go out to the masses through official media. She offered a blistering rhetorical attack this week on South Korean President Moon Jae-in for making “thoughtless utterances” and spoiling the prospects for peace.
North Korea, which is barred by United Nations resolutions from ballistic missile testing, has been building up its capabilities to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear warheads and deliver tactical strikes against South Korea and Japan, which host tens of thousands of American troops.
The footage of the missile launch follows a military parade broadcast last Friday that showcased the many advancements state TV has made under Kim. The event opened with military marching bands, fireworks, and sky divers soaring through the air with North Korean flags affixed to their ankles.
The new looks, have been rolled out steadily since early 2019, when North Korea began a transition to high-definition broadcasts. Computer graphics have been added into reports on economic production. Sets took on a more modern look and younger reporters in the field and newscasters in fashionable clothing made their way onto screens.
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