North Korea

North Korea Holds Military Parade Following Kim Jong Un Nuclear Vow

Mr Kim took centre stage in front of flag-waving and cheering spectators as troops and weapons were displayed in Kim Il Sung Square.

North Korea has displayed what appeared to be a number of new weapons in a huge military parade, following leader Kim Jong Un's calls to expand the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Kim took centre stage in front of flag-waving and cheering spectators, as troops and hardware were displayed in Kim Il Sung Square.

It included submarine-launched ballistic missiles, described by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as the "world’s most powerful weapon".

KCNA said the parade featured other missiles capable of "thoroughly annihilating enemies in a pre-emptive way outside [our] territory".

The parade celebrated a ruling party meeting, in which Mr Kim vowed maximum efforts to bolster North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme to counter what he described as US hostility.

Mr Kim's comments are intended to pressure the incoming US government of Joe Biden, who has previously called the North Korean leader a "thug".

Mr Biden also accused Donald Trump of chasing a spectacle rather, than curbing North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

President Trump has had several meetings with Mr Kim, including becoming the first US President to visit North Korea during a June 2019 summit.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un handshake in North Korea
President-elect Joe Biden accused Donald Trump of chasing a spectacle, rather than curbing North Korea's nuclear capabilities (Picture: PA).

The North Korean leader has not ruled out talks, but said the fate of bilateral relations depends on whether Washington abandons its hostile policy towards Pyongyang.

North Korean state TV aired edited footage of the parade which showed thousands of civilians and troops roaring and fireworks exploding as Mr Kim took his spot on the podium.

Wearing a black fur hat and leather trench coat, Mr Kim waved and smiled widely as troops chanted "Let’s defend Kim Jong Un with our lives!" and "Protect with our lives the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Central Committee led by Great Comrade Kim Jong Un!"

Reports and video from state media suggested he did not make a speech during the parade.

However, his defence minister, Kim Jong Gwan, said in a speech that North Korea’s military would "pre-emptively marshal our greatest might to thoroughly punish hostiles forces" if they threaten the North’s safety.

Mr Kim also revealed plans during the eight-day Workers Party congress to salvage the nation’s economy which has been hit by US-led sanctions over his nuclear ambitions, pandemic-related border closures and natural disasters that wiped out crops.

The economic setbacks left Mr Kim with nothing to show for his ambitious diplomacy with Mr Trump.

The talks were derailed over disagreements about sanction relief in exchange for North Korean denuclearisation steps.