N.Korea holds huge military parade as Kim vows nuclear might

Clay Curtis
January 15, 2021

On Wednesday, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong Un and a member of the ruling party's Central Committee, called South Korea "top-class idiots" for monitoring signs of a parade in Pyongyang earlier this week.

The North Korean leader paraded a new submarine-launched ballistic missile through central Pyongyang Thursday as part of a military pageant to mark the completion of more than a week of ruling party meetings.

Fireworks were shot off following the military parade as people "raised shouts of joy, feasting their eyes on the fireworks".

"No matter who is in power in the USA, the true nature and the true spirit of the anti-North Korea policy will never change", Kim said Saturday. "So, the next obvious step is to demonstrate", said retired South Korean lieutenant general Chun In-bum, an expert on North Korea's weapons program.

A comparison of photos released by KCNA showed that the new Pukguksong-5 SLBM appeared demonstrably larger than the last variant, the Pukguksong-4, which was revealed during the October military parade, experts said.

Although the display did not feature North Korea's dreaded ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) - capable of hitting the United States mainland - it showcased what experts estimated were upgraded versions of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). However, for the first time in recent memory, the event did not feature an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The parade was attended by other senior officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, the North's No. 2 leader, and Jo Yong-won, a senior party official who is believed to have jumped to the country's No. 3 position at the party congress.

The parade, made public by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Friday, included other additions to the country's ever-growing arsenal such as short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), and rockets. Biden is associated with the Obama administration's "strategic patience" approach and characterised Kim as a "thug" during the presidential debates.

But 2021 is looking rather different. The SLBM was labeled Pukguksong-5, which appears to be a new type of device.

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The league doesn't have a hard and fast rule on how many players it would take being unavailable to postpone a game. Monday, the NHL announced the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, a new event for the 2020/2021 season.

Nuclear-powered submarines were just one of many advanced military assets that were on Kim's wish list during the congress, which also included longer-range ICBMs that could potentially target the US mainland more reliably, new tactical nuclear weapons and warheads, spy satellites and hypersonic weapons. KCNA said the underwater missiles can firmly uphold the North's military and technological strength and overwhelm the world.

But he says the tip of the missile looks considerably longer, which suggests it could mount highly destructive warheads or carry multiple warheads.

There was a range of military hardware including tanks and rocket launchers on show. The KN-23, with a range of around 400 to 600 kilometers, is considered a tactical missile aimed at South Korea. Its previous long-range missiles demonstrated a potential ability to reach deep inside the USA mainland during flight tests in 2017.

"Given North Korea's resource limitations and the challenges involved in developing such a capability, it is likely a long way from the ability to produce even a single nuclear-powered submarine - much less the infrastructure and expertise necessary to engineer, build, train, and operationally deploy a submarine force capable of continuously holding the continental United States at risk", Markus Garlauskas, the former U.S. National Intelligence Officer for North Korea, and former U.S. official Bruce Perry said in October.

According to CNN, The display comes just days after Kim said North Korea was pursuing sophisticated new armaments for the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, including a nuclear-powered submarine, tactical nuclear weapons and advanced warheads created to penetrate missile defense systems.

Kim Jong-un has had a busy week.

For the incoming Biden administration in the United States, denuclearization negotiations with North Korea will be immensely hard.

This did not stop Kim Yo-jong from ripping into Seoul for "craning its neck" into the North's activities in a "clear expression" of hostility.

The parade in itself was not meant to be a provocation but was a worrying sign of Pyongyang's priorities, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

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