On Saturday, the 10th October, the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling party took place in Pyongyang. As always, in an orchestrated fashion, crowds of people gathered and devoted themselves to celebrate the annual military parade. However, as surreal as the annual spectacle is, the parade organized by the party officials validates the fears of South Korea and other nations in the region. Although a North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has engaged in an intermittent effort to establish relations with the US, the effor has had its turning points, a fresh show of military might and ballistic missiles sends a very strong signal.
The big star of the evening was the new Korean ICBM which supposedly has the capability of carrying nuclear warheads. If this is really the case, it means that North Korea has achieved the next step in its nuclear power-play with the US. Especially with the November election imminent. Experts claim that the show of force by Kim’s regime is a test for the future US administration. On one hand, Donald Trump has informed the public that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. On the other hand, presidential hopeful Joe Biden would have to manage a fresh crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
But besides the ICBM the conventional forces shown in force. Korean soldiers and vehicles filled Taehaksubdang Street presenting the latest achievements of the People’s Republic of Korea military industry. A huge surprise to the foreign public was the presentation of a new North Korean AFV, that externally appears to be very similar to the US’ Stryker family.
Nine new North Korean MBTs resembling the Russian Armata project were presented to the public too. Supposedly, Koreans also have a new reactive armor, a new anti-tank missile system, and possibly, an active protection system.
This year’s parade in Pyongyang was full of surprises for foreign observers. New missiles, tanks, AFVs, and the appearance of the supreme leader in the middle of the pandemic were indeed an indication of North Korea is still a very militaristic state which has seemingly not made any significant changes in the face of COVID-19 or external pressure. The upcoming US presidential election is likely to provide Kim Jong Un with more options on how to play his nuclear card.