First, it's not clear whether the missiles were real or mock-ups, but experts say the public display was at least Pyongyang's latest move in a game of nuclear brinkmanship with the U.S.
"It's very difficult to discern what's real and what's for
The reclusive nation's military parade was aimed to celebrate the so-called Day of the Sun on April 15, which marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of founding father Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
"Everyone has always underestimated what North Korea can do. ... This was North Korea's way of saying it can do more than expected," said Gabriel Stein, managing director of developed markets research at 4CAST-RGE.
The country has never tested an ICBM before.
"In some sense, this is a defensive crouch," said Stephan Haggard, Korea-Pacific Program director at the University of California San Diego, referring to the apparent ICBM display. Kim is basically saying Pyongyang will use weapons
Despite North Korea's reputation for being unpredictable, Haggard believes Kim is actually cautious.
If Kim is test firing missiles or conducting a nuclear test on North Korean soil, he's not moving across the DMZ and directly threatening other countries, Haggard said. If North Korea had undertaken a nuclear test on April 15, that would have been way more provocative and would have likely elicited an American military response, he added.