North Korean leader attends military parade with nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on display

North Korea displayed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear attack capability at a massive military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of its armed forces, local media reported on Thursday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the event with his wife Ri Sol-ju, apparent second child Ju-ae, and other senior military officials, but gave no public speech.

Kim, dressed in a long black coat and a felt hat, smiled and waved to the crowd, according to photos released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). His attire was reminiscent of the late country's founder, Kim Il-sung.

It said the parade was held in Kim Il Sung Square on Wednesday to mark the Korean People's Army (KPA) anniversary.

Kim's regime has staged 13 military parades since his father's death in late 2011.

The military also displayed a range of new ballistic missiles, including its Hwasong-17 ICBMs on a mobile launcher, as well as "tactical nuclear units" in a demonstration of its "war deterrence and counterstrike capabilities," according to the news agency.

Earlier on Tuesday, at a banquet in Pyongyang to commemorate the KPA's establishment anniversary, Kim praised his armed forces, saying they are the people who have dedicated their lives to the country.

"I never doubt that you will be as brave as always, dedicating your lives to the eternal prosperity of the country and the wellbeing of the people, true to the letters written on the glorious military colors," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.

"Even under the harsh circumstances as now, our army is demonstrating its inexhaustible strength as the armed forces of the Workers' Party of Korea and the vanguard of the class," he added.

On Monday, Kim ordered his military to increase combat exercises during the fourth enlarged meeting of the Eighth Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

His latest order to the military came after a meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup in Seoul last week, during which the two sides agreed to bolster the level and scale of this year's combined military exercises and training.

Washington and Seoul also agreed to work closely together in the future to ensure that US strategic assets are deployed in a timely and coordinated manner.

Tensions on Korean Peninsula escalated late last year when North Korea launched at least 60 missiles while South Korea and the US held joint military drills.

This month, the US and South Korea will also hold the Deterrence Strategy Committee table-top exercises.

Source: AA

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