(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea staged a large nighttime military parade on Wednesday possibly showing off its largest number of intercontinental ballistic missiles on one occasion.
The parade took place in Kim Il-Sung Square, in central Pyongyang, with over 30,000 soldiers participating and more watching.
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his fellow high officials in attendance, the parade rolled its ballistic missiles and missile launchers for two hours, according to North Korea’s state news media Korean Central News Agency.
Near the end of the parade, there was a presentation of North Korea’s newly formed “tactical nuclear units” for the first time, demonstrating what the North’s state media described as “war deterrence and counter strike capabilities.”
Although the majority of the missiles on show were not identified, military experts pointed out that among the presentation stood the solid-propellant and ICBM launchers that North Korea has been working on with great effort. The solid propellants are able to dramatically shorten the time needed to refuel a missile in an actual battle field.
“It’s notable that there was a launch vehicle capable of delivering an solid fuel fired ICBM,” Dr. Yang Uk of Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told ABC News. “Compared to the first presentation of its ICBM launch vehicle back in the 2017 military parade, North Korea has added more features like wheels and doors to the vehicle suggesting there have been modifications for use in actual battle. But I have to say, no one has witnessed the actual capability of North’s ICBMs.”
The Hwasong-17, known as the largest of North’s missiles, was revealed through satellite images from U.S.-based space firm Maxar Technologies. Experts suspect that if North Korea’s claims turn out to be truthful, it has a range to strike anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead.
“North Korea showcased the largest number of ICBMs in history during Wednesday night’s parade,” Yang said. “This sends a message to the United States that North Korea’s strike capabilities are no joke, and they are prepared to attack any time.”
Marking the 75th anniversary of the People’s Army, this year’s parade was expected to showcase key weapons developments from 2022. Last year, Pyongyang fired more missiles than any other year on record.
Aside from the weapons development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also grasped international attention by accompanying his daughter to the parade. The 9-year-old Kim Ju-ae, his second born child after a son, has been spotted in several important military related events since last November, raising speculations that she may be the future of Pyongyang’s leadership.
“Kim Jong Un seems to be taking advantage of the international attention from the public whenever he brings his daughter to military photo ops,” Professor Park Won-gon of Ewha Womans University, told ABC News. “She also has a symbolic significance as the next generation, as Kim Jong Un has been referring to its ICBM Hwasong-17 as a source of well being and happiness of the next generation.”
Kim Jong Un did not give a speech during the parade.
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