North Korea held its second major military parade in three months to mark a rare party meeting, showing off nuclear advances including a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.
Kim Jong Un’s regime held the parade in Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang on Thursday evening to mark the end of its first Party Congress in five years, the state’s Korean Central News Agency said. The delegates approved plans to bolster a sanctions-hit economy that last year likely headed to its biggest contraction in two decades.
The parade appeared to be smaller than an October military march, at which North Korea unveiled what was likely the world’s largest road-ready intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to the U.S.
One of the longest-range weapons unveiled Thursday appeared to be the Pukguksong-5, a new version of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. North Korea last tested a Pukguksong-3 SLBM in October 2019, which had an estimated range of 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) — capable of striking its arch-enemy Japan.
“The world’s most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces,” KCNA said Friday. Last week the regime said it would modernize its nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, as well as enhance its ability to launch quick and devastating strikes.
The show of force demonstrated the progress North Korea has made on its nuclear program in the face of Trump’s unprecedented move to meet Kim face-to-face in an effort to neutralize one of the U.S.’s biggest security threats. Kim last week signaled a challenge to Biden, saying he would focus on “subduing” the U.S. and continuing to enhance his nuclear capability to ensure North Korea’s “autonomic development.”
North Korea said its weapons plans include making smaller and lighter nuclear weapons, proceeding with the development of large warheads and improving the ability to strike targets within 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) — capable of reaching all of the continental U.S. Kim is seeking to develop solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles, while strengthening intelligence-gathering capabilities with satellites.
“If hostile forces compromise the security of our state, we will preemptively mobilize our strongest offensive forces to thoroughly punish, and protect the safety of our country and people,” Kim Jong Gwan, North Korea’s defense minister, said in an address.
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