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North Korea shows off advanced ICBM at nighttime military parade

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army on February 8, 2023. (Photo by KCNA via Yunhap)

North Korea has staged a massive military parade to mark the founding anniversary of its armed forces, displaying more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which state-run media claimed have the “maximum nuclear attack capability.”

North Korea held the nighttime military parade in Pyongyang on Wednesday as leader Kim Jong-un, accompanied by his wife and daughter, attended the event to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its army, the state news agency KCNA said.

The KCNA reported that the parade featured a variety of nuclear-capable weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons and ICBMs, which the agency described as crucial weapons supporting the North’s “power-to-power, all-out confrontation” against enemies.

Imagery released by state media showed as many as 11 Hwasong-17s, North Korea’s largest ICBMs, the most ever displayed in a single parade. The Hwasong-17 was first tested last year.

Besides the ICBMs, North Korean state media said the parade featured tactical missiles and long-range cruise missiles. At least four types of short-range ballistic missile systems (SRBMs) were also seen in the Wednesday parade.

“The message Pyongyang wants to send internationally, demonstrating its capabilities to deter and coerce, will likely come in the form of solid-fuel missile tests and detonation of a miniaturized nuclear device,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

The parade came a day after Kim presided over a meeting with his top military brass where he called for an expansion of combat exercises aimed at sharpening war readiness, in the face of deepening tensions with neighbors as well as Washington.

During a major political conference in December last year, Kim called for an “exponential increase” of the country’s nuclear warheads, mass production of battlefield tactical nukes capable of targeting “enemy” South Korea, and the development of more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the continental United States.

North Korea, which has been under harsh sanctions by the United States and the United Nations Security Council for years over its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, launched an unprecedented number of missiles in 2022, including its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever.

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