North Korea unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile described by state media as the “world’s most powerful weapon” during a parade aimed at displaying force days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to reports.
A grinning Kim Jong Un oversaw the parade on Thursday evening as he watched mounted cavalry, specialized infantry, artillery and tanks roll through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.
The display of power came after the five-yearly congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, where the strongman decried the US as his country’s “foremost principal enemy,” Agence France-Presse reported.
“The world’s most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces,” the official KCNA news agency reported.
Footage on state TV showed four of the SLBMs, with black-and-white cones, driven past.
Park Won-gon of Handong Global University in the South described them as “the North’s ultimate nuclear weapon.”
The rogue regime has shown off earlier, smaller SLBMs before, and broadcast footage of a test launch, but it was unclear whether they had been fired from a submarine or an underwater platform.
A working SLBM on a nuclear-powered sub would be a strategic game changer, enabling Pyongyang to launch a surprise attack from close to the US or carry out a strike even if its land-based forces had been annihilated.
Analysts say Pyongyang used the military display to send the incoming US administration a finely calculated message of power in an effort to extract concessions.
Biden has previously called the North Korean leader a “thug” and accused President Trump of chasing spectacle rather than meaningful curbs on the North’s nuclear capabilities.
Kim has not ruled out talks, but said the fate of bilateral relations depends on whether Washington abandons its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.
Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea have stalled since a summit with Kim and Trump held in Vietnam in 2019 failed to produce an agreement.
With Post wires
North Korea shows off new submarine-launched missiles The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.