North Korea often holds military marches to celebrate and to show external power. New weapons are often displayed. As in the recent weapon show, missiles play an important role.
Seoul (dpa) – North Korea’s self-proclaimed nuclear power has shown strength for the second time in a few months with a military parade under a night sky.
The army show on Thursday evening (local time) in Pyongyang also demonstrated ballistic missiles that could be fired from a submarine, state media reported Friday. According to experts, the North Korean military has likely revealed new variants of a ballistic submarine missile (SLBM), as well as short-range missiles. Ballistic missiles, depending on their design, can also carry nuclear warheads and are therefore weapons of mass destruction.
Isolated for its nuclear weapons program, the country has spent years developing and testing different types of missiles, of all ranges that can be launched from land or water. Submarine missiles are more difficult to catch by the enemy.
The military parade came after reports celebrating the reigning Labor Party’s Congress, which ended two days earlier. Photographs showed ruler Kim Jong-un, dressed in a black leather jacket and fur hat, watching the parade from a stand in Kim Il Sung Square. Marching soldiers, rolling tanks and artillery pieces as well as missile vehicles were presented. The world’s strongest SLBM drove to the square one by one and demonstrated the power of the revolutionary armed forces, he said.
The photos also showed an SLBM with the letters “Pukguksong-5”. Michael German of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), which conducts research on nuclear non-proliferation, wrote that it is likely a modernized version of the Pukguksong-4 that North Korea showed last October. “The new missile definitely looks bigger,” the expert wrote on Twitter.
The reports and photos did not reveal whether ICBMs were also featured in the recent military parade. Experts say North Korea also presented a new long-range missile that could reach mainland US at a major nighttime weapons show in October.
The most recent military parade, and before that the eight-day party congress, was held shortly before the inauguration of the new US President Joe Biden – at a time when negotiations between the US and North Korea over their nuclear program are no longer progressing. During the Congress, Kim described the United States as the “main enemy”. He also announced that his country would bolster nuclear deterrence with new weapons, including new ICBMs.
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