N.Korea appears to have shown new SLBMs


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves at troops marching at the military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday night, according to this state media photograph.

Kim's comments are likely meant to pressure the incoming us government of Joe Biden, who has previously called the North Korean leader a "thug" and accused Trump of chasing spectacle rather than meaningful curbs on the North's nuclear capabilities.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday disclosed photos showing the SLBMs carried by transporters.

There was also formation flying to pay respect to the Party Central Committee and fireworks were set off to brighten the sky, it added. Reprising past appearances were some of the newest weapons in the North's conventional arsenal, including what it called "ultra-modern self-propelled artillery pieces" as well as "columns of rockets possessed of powerful striking capability".

Kim last week signalled a challenge to Biden, saying he would focus on "subduing" the US and continuing to enhance his nuclear capability to ensure North Korea's "autonomic development".

Noh was appointed as Seoul's top nuclear envoy last month, as South Korea seeks to create fresh momentum and kick-start the stalled nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington under the Biden administration.

A number of what analysts said appeared to be new variants of short-range ballistic missiles and SLBMs rolled into the square on trucks.

The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapons created to be fired from mobile land launchers, which potentially expands the North's capabilities to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, including USA military bases there.

Panda said the SLBM displayed was "evidence of North Korea's growing sophistication with large solid propellant-based ballistic missiles", but noted it's also important to consider why Kim may have wanted to show them to his own people.

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North Korea claims to not have recorded a single case of Covid-19, so holding a major event without masks may be a way to reinforce that narrative. However, Kim did not make a speech at the parade and there was no direct mention of the United States. Photos distributed by KCNA show a beaming Kim greeting the troops as they march.

Kim posed for a photo with the delegates and told them that they could "break through all challenges and obstacles in the advance with the revolutionary spirit of Paektu, the spirit of self-reliance", it said.

The military parade was preceded by the rare party congress, which was held for more than a week until Tuesday.

At last week's meeting, Kim Jong Un called the U.S. his country's "biggest enemy" and vowed to advance Pyongyang's nuclear and missile program.

Moreover, the weapons move North Korea closer to developing solid-fueled ICBMs, which can be stored full and moved quickly to evade a counterattack. He welcomed Trump with a series of tests culminating with the launch of an ICBM that experts said could deliver a nuclear warhead to the entire U.S.

Analysts say the North is using the party meeting and military display to send the incoming administration in Washington a carefully calibrated message of strength in an attempt to extract concessions.

South Korea's military gave no separate response to the younger Kim's broadside, noting on Thursday it was analyzing Pyongyang's military plans revealed at the congress. Seoul's Ministry of Unification, its top inter-Korean agency, had a more sanguine view of the event, saying Kim Jong-un displayed a "reserved" stance toward the South in his speech on January 8 by addressing the need for inter-Korean agreements to be implemented.

Thursday's parade comes just three months after the North staged a massive nighttime military parade in October to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party. The diameter of Kim's latest Pukguksong missiles appear to have reached the key 1.7 meter (5.6 feet) threshold needed to build one capable of crossing the Pacific, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California. Kim Jong Un revived the congresses in 2016.