North Korea's state media reported on January 15 that the country's military parade was held at Kim Il Sung Square in the capital Pyongyang the previous day. On Wednesday, Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, called South Koreans "idiots" for closely monitoring news of a military parade. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi also confirmed what he called "a show of military force", adding that Japan was working with the USA and South Korea to analyze the parade.
"These parades aren't just for the outside world, of course", said Panda, author of "Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea".
North Korea has displayed what appeared to be new developmental ballistic missiles created to be launched from submarines and other military hardware at a parade, capping more than a week of political meetings with a show of military might.
As of Friday afternoon, the North's state media did not release any images from the parade that included ICBMs.
During its last military parade in October, the North unveiled a series of new strategic weapons, including what appeared to be its biggest-yet intercontinental ballistic missile.
The unveiling of the new missiles appears created to send the incoming Biden administration a message of the North's growing military prowess, say experts. Given that, experts theorized that Pukkuksong-5 is likely to be a model, rather than an operational missile, as it does not seem to be much different from Pukkuksong-4.
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 US military bases there.
Moreover, the weapons move North Korea closer to developing solid-fueled ICBMs, which can be stored full and moved quickly to evade a counterattack.
A number of what analysts said appeared to be new variants of short-range ballistic missiles and SLBMs rolled into the square on trucks.
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Still, Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies and a former military official who participated in inter-Korean military talks, said the North's presumably new submarine-launched missiles could possibly be engineering mockups that require further development before they are ready to be tested and deployed.
Some experts raised the possibility that the missile on display on the parade was the same SLBM known as Pukkuksong-3, first launched by North Korea on October 2, 2019, which has never actually appeared in a military parade.
The country held an extravagant parade on Thursday and included the showcasing of what appeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile. "It is not for the South, it's for the U.S. In that aspect, it sends a message aimed at pressuring the U.S. ahead of the incoming Biden administration", Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said.
However, some analysts were encouraged by the fact that North Korea did not show off its intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are created to send a nuclear weapon across the planet - potentially to the United States.
Nuclear-powered submarines were just one of many advanced military assets on Kim's wish list during the congress, which also included longer-range ICBMs that could potentially target the US mainland more reliably, new tactical nuclear weapons and warheads, spy satellites and hypersonic weapons. However, Kim did not make a speech at the parade and there was no direct mention of the United States.
During the transfer of power, President Obama told Donald Trump that North Korea should be his top national security concern.
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. With its growing military capabilities, Pyongyang will be more hard to deter and negotiate with in the New Year", Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, told The Diplomat.
During the party congress, Kim unveiled plans to pursue more sophisticated military assets.