Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warns his country « will fully mobilize » its nuclear force was under threat as it took center stage in a military parade that unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other weapons
Kim, however, avoided direct criticism of Washington at Saturday’s event, which celebrated the ruling party’s 75th anniversary and took place less than four weeks before the U.S. presidential election Instead, he focused on a national message urging his people to stand firm in the face of « enormous challenges » posed by the coronavirus pandemic and crippling US sanctions on its nuclear program
A man broadcast by the Korean Central News Agency in Seoul during a news program about the military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling party in North KoreaCredit: Getty Images
Kim described the North’s continued efforts to develop nuclear deterrence as necessary for its defense and said it was not targeting any particular country
But « if any force undermines the security of our nation, we will fully mobilize the most powerful offensive power preemptively to punish them, » he said
Kim’s speech was punctuated by thousands of soldiers, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and a wide range of ballistic missiles launched at Pyongyang’s Kim-il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Weapons included what was perhaps the largest ICBM in the North, which was mounted on an 11-axle launcher that was also first seen The North also showcased 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 continued to expand its military capabilities during a stalemate in nuclear talks with the Trump administration
Kim had previously expressed his frustration at the slowness of diplomacy, promising in December to continue building up his nuclear arsenal in the face of US pressure and to unveil a « new strategic weapon to the world » soon. He went on to say the North was no longer obliged to maintain a self-imposed suspension of nuclear weapons and ICBM testing, which President Donald Trump touted as a major foreign policy achievement.
The likely ICBM parade on Saturday was clearly the new strategic weapon Kim had promised to show off, said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Austria-based open nuclear grid North Korea had already demonstrated a potential ability to penetrate deep into the Americas with a flight test of its Hwasong-15 ICBM in 2017, and the development of a larger missile may mean the country is trying to arm her long-range weapons with more warheads, she says
A photo provided by the North Korean government shows people in Kim-il Sung Square to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday, October 10Credit: AP
North Korea is pursuing its nuclear strategy regardless of the difficult year it has had with regard to diplomatic talks, typhoon flooding and COVID-19, â € “ Hanham said in a phone interview – I also think this is a message to the US – he has already said he is no longer standing at the moratorium and has something new that he may want. to be tested
The celebratory event, which started late Friday, was only broadcast on North Korean public television on Saturday night, when it aired a taped show
Goose-step troops were seen marching through the streets in front of a lighted Kim Il Sung Square, as a military marching band performed as they moved in formation, shaping 10 – 10, â? ??? at ???? 1945, â ???? and â ???? 2020â ???? in honor of the anniversary of the party
Performers and tens of thousands of spectators howled as Kim, clad in a gray suit and tie, appeared from a building as the clock struck midnight Kim, flanked by senior officials and smiling broadly, waved to the crowd and hugged children who offered her flowers before taking her place on a balcony
During his speech, Kim appeared to cry at one point as he repeatedly thanked his « great people » and military to overcome « unexpected » charges and the implementation of anti-virus measures imposed by the ruling party and government to keep the country safe from COVID-19, a claim that has been widely disputed. question by outside observers
He also extended an olive branch to rival South Korea, expressing hope countries can mend ties once pandemic threat has passed The North had suspended virtually all cooperation with the South amid a freeze on broader negotiations with the United States
After the speech, Kim waved his hand and looked through binoculars at the military equipment deployed in the square. He saluted as the fighter jets flew in formation, using fireworks to train the workers… ???? Symbol of the holiday a hammer, a brush and a sickle â ???? and the number 75 in the sky
Earlier on Saturday, masked citizens lined up to lay flowers on statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the father of the current leader, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang Huge street poster read – Best Glory to Our Big Partyâ ????
The official North Korean Central News Agency said residents of Kaesong and other areas who had lost their homes to recent natural disasters marked the anniversary of the holiday by moving into homes newly built and that they congratulated Kim Jong-un for taking care of them as « their father »
This year’s anniversary comes amid deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration and worsening economic problems which analysts say is becoming one of the biggest tests of the world. Kim’s leadership since coming to power in 2011
But many analysts believe North Korea will avoid serious negotiations or provocations ahead of the US presidential election due to the possibility that the US government may change
North Korea, Kim Jong-un, military parade, Workers’ Party of Korea, Pyongyang, intercontinental ballistic missile
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