North Korea unveils new weapons at military parade

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned that his country would fully mobilize its nuclear force if threatened as he took center stage at a military parade that unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other weapons

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned that his country would “fully mobilize” its nuclear force if threatened as he took center stage at a military parade that unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other weapons.

Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country.

But “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might in a preemptive manner to punish them,” he said.

Kim’s speech was punctuated by thousands of goose-stepping troops, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers and a broad range of ballistic missiles rolled out in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.

The weapons included what was possibly the North’s biggest-yet ICBM, which was mounted on an 11-axel launch vehicle that was also seen for the first time. The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapon systems, including what could be an advanced version of its Pukguksong family of missiles designed to be fired from submarines or land mobile launchers.

The missiles highlighted how the North has continued to expand its military capabilities during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.

“North Korea is pushing ahead with its nuclear strategy regardless of the tough year that it has had with regard to diplomatic talks, flooding from typhoons and COVID-19,” Hanham said in a telephone interview. “I also think that this is a message to the United States — he has already declared he no longer holds himself to the moratorium and he has something new as well he may wish to test.”

Goose-stepping troops were seen marching in the streets in front of a brightly illuminated Kim Il Sung Square, as a military band performed while moving in formation, shaping “10.10,” “1945,” and “2020” in honor of the party anniversary.

The performers and tens of thousands of spectators roared as Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, appeared from a building as the clock struck midnight. Kim, flanked with senior officials and smiling widely, waved to the crowd and kissed children who presented him with flowers before taking his spot on a balcony.

During his speech, Kim seemed to tear up at one point as he repeatedly thanked his “great people” and military for overcoming “unexpected” burdens and carrying out anti-virus measures imposed by the ruling party and government to keep the country free of COVID-19, a claim that has been widely questioned by outside observers.

He also extended an olive branch to rival South Korea, expressing hope that the countries can repair ties once the threat of the pandemic is over. The North had suspended virtually all cooperation with the South during a freeze in larger talks with the United States.

After the speech, Kim waved and watched with binoculars as the military hardware was rolled out in the square. He saluted as fighter jets flew in formation, using fireworks to form the Workers’ Party’s symbol — a hammer, brush and sickle — and the number 75 in the sky.

Earlier Saturday, masked citizens lined up to lay flowers at the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the father of the current ruler, at Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill. A huge street poster read “Best glory to our great party.”

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said residents in Kaesong and other regions who had lost their homes to recent natural disasters marked the party anniversary by moving into newly built houses and that they praised Kim Jong Un for looking after them as “their father.”

This year’s anniversary comes amid deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration and deepening economic woes that analysts say are shaping up as one of the biggest tests of Kim’s leadership since he took power in 2011.

But many analysts believe North Korea will avoid serious negotiations or provocations before the U.S. presidential election because of the chance that the U.S. government could change.

source.

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