Russia’s defense minister accompanied North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to a defense exhibition that featured the North’s banned ballistic missiles as the neighbors pledged to boost ties, North Korean state media reported on Thursday.

How can one tell that the missiles are banned? They just look like missiles to me, and I doubt North Korea is banned from developing missiles completely. Only possibility I can think of is that the missiles are banned because they're nuclear-capable, but presumably what's actually banned are nuclear warheads.

I'm looking for a military-based answer that explains how it's possible to tell from the images that the missiles are banned.

  • 10
    North Korea is banned from all ballistic missile development. Resolution 1718: "DPRK shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme". I'm not a military expert, but those look like ballistic missiles to me. They aren't surface to air missiles or the like! Is that worth putting into an answer?
    – James K
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 16:29
  • Also, asking about New York Post articles, esp. wrt Communist-related stuff, isn't, quite, like asking about National Inquirer articles. But it comes pretty close. mediabiasfactcheck.com/new-york-post Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 17:27
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica the article is written by Reuters, it's just hosted on NYP.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 1:40
  • Is there any reason to think that the DPRK is denying that these are ballistic missiles? My understanding is that the regime proudly announces its ballistic missile capabilities.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


I doesn't take much of military genius/expert to tell apart ICBMs from other stuff. Size and all:

enter image description here

And yeah, as noted in a comment the UNSC has demanded that North Korea abandon all its ballistic missiles, most recently in a 2017 resolution (#2371), but I think the same wording existed in older ones:

Reaffirms its decisions that the DPRK shall not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests, or any other provocation; shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launches; shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities; and shall abandon any other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner

Having ICBMs probably qualifies as having [some] ballistic missile program[s]. Yeah, those on display could be just some mock-ups. But since they did launch some, they've got some real ones that look just like those displayed...

  • 2
    Yup, just look at the big one in the background. That's a lot bigger than anything other than a ballistic missile that I've ever heard about. While I certainly haven't checked everything the biggest non-ballistic missile I can find is under 21' long and is a couple of feet across. Comparing the big missile in the background to the people I would say it's at least 4' across. Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 4:18

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