North Korea paraded a submarine-launchable ballistic missile during a military parade in Pyongyang on Friday, days before the inauguration of US President Joe Biden.
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The parade punctuated the ruling Workers’ Party congress, in which leader Kim Jong Un described the United States as “the main enemy” of his country.
“The majestic elite units and invincible brass ranks of the Republic who will proudly cross Kim Il Sung Square represent our absolute power,” Defense Minister Kim Jong Gwan said before the parade, according to the official agency. north korean KCNA.
“The most powerful weapon in the world, the ballistic missiles launched by a submarine, entered the square one after another, demonstrating the power of the revolutionary armed forces,” then reported KCNA.
Photos show at least four missiles with black and white warheads parading amid the crowd waving flags.
Ankit Panda, an expert from the Carnegie Endowment, a Washington-based non-governmental organization, said this model of the missile has never been seen before.
The parade also included infantry troops, artillery, tanks and an air parade with planes forming the number “8” to celebrate the 8th Congress, the same source added.
“Powerful strike ability”
The parade, supervised by Mr. Kim, featured rockets having “a powerful strike capacity to completely annihilate enemies in a preventive manner outside the territory,” the agency said.
This type of expression implies that the weapons have a range that extends beyond the Korean peninsula and could at least reach Japan.
However, the description of KCNA does not mention any intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), suggesting that the parade was on a smaller scale than that of last October.
A new, very large intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was then exposed, which, according to specialists, is the largest known road-movable liquid-fuel missile in the world.
The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea to defend it against its neighbor, and also has a significant military presence in Japan.
After exchanging insults and threats of nuclear war, Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have made an extraordinary rapprochement, marked by meetings as historic as they are symbolic.
But no progress has been made on the thorny issue of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs. And negotiations have stalled since the resounding failure of the second summit between the two men at the end of February 2019 in Hanoi.
One of the reasons for this stalemate has been the lack of consensus on what concessions North Korea should make in exchange for lifting international sanctions against it.
The change of US presidency poses a challenge for North Korea as Joe Biden, who called Kim Jong Un a “thug” during presidential debates, is associated with the Obama administration’s “strategic patience” approach.
The United States should return to a much more traditional approach to Pyongyang, including insisting that significant progress at the working group level will be needed before even considering another meeting of senior leaders. .
Analysts believe Pyongyang is using the ruling party’s congress to send a strong message to the next Democratic administration in Washington in an effort to secure concessions.
North Korea is subject to several rounds of international sanctions for its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
At the same time, it has imposed increased isolation on itself to guard against the Covid-19 epidemic, having closed its borders last January to protect itself from the coronavirus that first emerged in neighboring China, adding to the pressure on its moribund economy.
During the just-concluded congress, Kim was elected general secretary of the Workers’ Party of which he was so far chairman on Sunday, a symbolic name change aimed at strengthening his power, analysts said.
During the congress, Mr. Kim noted the failure of the economic policy carried out recently in North Korea, declaring that “almost all sectors” had not reached their objectives.