In Pyongyang’s night, thousands of soldiers marched with their eyes fixed on their leader. After days of expectation, North Korea held a long-awaited military parade late yesterday , as revealed this morning by the regime’s official media. The event was attended by Kim Jong-un and the most powerful weapons in his arsenal, with which he once again threatened the world.
This exhibition, which began around 10 p.m., commemorated the 90th anniversary of the creation of the armed forces, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, originally conceived as an anti-Japanese guerrilla force by the country’s founder, Kim Il -sung. Some 20,000 recruits toured the central square that bears the name of the current leader’s grandfather, the same place where two weeks ago a civil parade celebrated the 110th anniversary of his birth.
The photos shared today by the official newspaper ‘Rodong Sinmun’ show Kim accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju. Also several units of the Hwasong-17, North Korea’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile , the jewel of its magazine. In its editorial, the propaganda organ called on the armed forces, as well as the rest of the population, to offer “absolute loyalty” to the leader.
He took the floor, proclaiming the purpose of strengthening its nuclear weapons “at the fastest possible rate.” “Our basic mission with respect to nuclear energy is to deter war, but our weapons cannot be reduced only to the limits of prevention,” he proclaimed according to statements collected by the official KCNA news agency. Kim also warned that any force seeking a military confrontation “will cease to exist,” a scenario for which his army is “fully prepared (…) at all times.”
His fiery speech reiterates the hostility of a regime that throughout 2022 has carried out weapons tests with unusual frequency, more than twelve so far this year. These have included the launch last month of an intercontinental ballistic missile – capable of hitting targets, in theory, more than 13,000 kilometers away – ending the self-imposed moratorium since 2017. The international community now fears that the escalation will continue with the nuclear weapons test.
Through this campaign, North Korea seeks to attract global attention and redouble pressure after the failure of the historic negotiations for the denuclearization of the peninsula held with the Trump Administration, which led to several personal meetings – the first of them in June 2018 in Singapore–, which did not come to fruition. The impact of the pandemic, despite the fact that the country claims not to have registered any cases within its borders, could have increased the famine and, therefore, the urgency of a diplomatic process to suspend the international sanctions that are weighing down its economy.
Relations with Russia
The ephemerides, like the shots, accumulate for Kim, who has also celebrated the third anniversary of his first personal meeting with Vladimir Putin these days . “The relationship between North Korea and Russia, which has been continuously strengthened and developed, is reaching a new peak thanks to the special interest of our comrade and general secretary,” an editorial in the ‘Rodong Sinmun’ assured these days. The text added that the mutual support of both countries on the international stage is “stronger than ever”, while they face “all kinds of challenges” together, referring to Ukraine, where they know well that, unfortunately, not all threats are rhetorical.