February 10, 2023 12:20
North Korea showed off its new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles during a nighttime parade marking the 75th anniversary of the army on Wednesday.
What was billed as a "tactical nuclear operation unit" also took part in the parade, where the regime showed off KN-24 missiles and 600 mm super-large multiple rocket launchers, as well as the North Korean version of the Iskander missile that can be tipped with tactical nuclear warheads.
Footage shows at least 11 Hwasong-17 ICBMs compared to last year's four. The new ICBMs are believed to be solid-fuel missiles that take less time to prepare for a launch than liquid-fuel ones and are therefore better suited for surprise attacks. State media said a "tactical nuclear operation unit with war deterrence capacity" took part in the parade. The unit is believed to have been specifically set up to launch nuclear strikes on South Korea.
The parade lasted about 90 minutes until 10:30 p.m. Since the 75th Workers Party anniversary in October 2020, the North has held all five major parades at night. Nazi-style lighting and fireworks were used to maximize the propaganda effect.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's daughter Ju-ae once again took center stage alongside senior officials. But for once the name of his younger sister Yo-jong, who has been regarded as the de facto No. 2, was not even mentioned in coverage by the official [North] Korean News Agency on Thursday.
None of the senior officials wore masks, which suggests that the regime wanted to display confidence about its "victory over the coronavirus pandemic" which Kim declared in August last year.
A military source here said some 30,000 troops and spectators were mobilized for the parade.
Kim donned a fedora and coat that resembled his grandfather Kim Il-sung's on similar occasions.
Some boffins believe the 10-year-old daughter is being groomed as his successor, but the Unification Ministry here said, "It's too early to speculate about a successor, but we're watching the situation carefully."
The South Korean government urged Pyongyang to "stop its missile development program and reckless nuclear threats"and "return to denuclearization talks as soon as possible."
"We deplore the fact that the regime is wasting precious resources on a massive show despite a worsening food shortage and growing economic difficulties," it added.
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