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N Korea holds huge military parade as Kim vows nuclear might

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a stage during a military parade celebrating a ruling Workers Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang on Thursday. | KCNA  KNS  VIA AFP-JIJI

North Korea displayed what appeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) at a parade in capital city Pyongyang on Thursday night, state media reported.

Nuclear-armed North Korea unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military parade in Pyongyang, state media showed Friday, in a calculated show of strength days before Joe Biden's inauguration as U.S. president.

At the party congress, Kim Jong Un warned that "if the south Korean authorities continue to label our action "provocation" with a double-dealing and biased mindset, we have no other option but to deal with them in a different way".

Amid the turmoil in Washington, D.C., following the Capitol Hill riot of January 6, and days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, North Korea is displaying its defense capabilities by holding its second military parade in just three months.

At an October parade, North Korea showed off its largest intercontinental ballistic missile, which appears created to overwhelm USA missile defenses.

In an example of the North's growing nuclear capabilities, a monster new ICBM unveiled in the October military parade was thought by some analysts to be capable of carrying enough nuclear warheads to overwhelm existing US and Japanese missile defenses. "New year, new Pukguksong", tweeted North Korea expert Ankit Panda, using the North Korean name for their submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The next launches may illustrate how rapidly North Korea has developed its nuclear delivery systems over the past few years, despite tough worldwide sanctions and Trump's three face-to-face meetings with Kim.

In his address to members last week, Mr Kim had pledged to expand North Korea's nuclear weapons and military potential, outlining a list of desired weapons including long-range ballistic missiles capable of being launched from land or sea and "super-large warheads". "It is sending an unspoken message to force the incoming administration to prioritize North Korea in their policies and to withdraw hostile policy against the North", he added.

North Korea's Pukguksong-5 a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, is displayed during a military parade to commemorate a ruling Workers Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang on Thursday. | KCNA  VIA REUTERS

It marks the first time the North staged a military parade in celebration of a party congress.

The agency also said the parade featured other missiles that could "pre-emptively and completely destroy any enemy outside of our territory".

Thursday's parade was held to celebrate the conclusion of the Eighth Workers' Party Congress - a meeting for North Korea's elite to gather and reflect on successes and failures in years past and set an agenda for the near future. Four of the five variants are SLBMs, and Pyongyang is known to be developing an operational submarine that can fire the missiles. Speaking at the congress, Kim said that no matter who is president, the United States will remain North Korea's "biggest enemy", arguing that "the true nature of the United States and its fundamental policies" towards Pyongyang "will never change".

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it is studying the weapons displayed by North Korea but didn't immediately release a detailed assessment. Each new missile helps bolster his argument that the US should drop its demands for "final, fully verified denuclearization" and accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.

Analysts suggest the parade was to demonstrate the country's stance ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

During the congress, Kim noted the failure of recent economic policy in North Korea, saying that "almost all sectors" had not achieved their goals.

The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapons created to be fired from mobile land launchers, which potentially expand its capability to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, including USA military bases there. The parade appeared to echo messages trumpeted at the gathering - that Pyongyang would not back down from USA efforts to throttle it into submission, and that it would further modernize its nuclear arms as a means to ensure its survival. "Despite or perhaps because of this, Kim Jong Un feels the need to devote scarce resources to another political-military display".

Troops march during a military parade to commemorate a ruling Workers' Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang on Thursday.

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