Kim Jung-un waves to crowd as parade shows off ‘world’s most powerful weapon’

Leader Kim Jong-un smiled and waved to crowds as he oversaw a parade which showed off new submarine-launch ballistic missiles.

The missiles, dubbed the 'world's most powerful weapon', were featured at the end of the parade, news agency KCNA reported.

Dressed in a leather coat and fur hat, North Korea 's leader oversaw the event in Pyongyang's Kim II Sung Square on Thursday night.

The parade came following more than a week of political meetings, state media said.

The parade featured rows of marching soldiers, military hardware including rocket launchers and tanks.

At the end, the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) were shown to the crowd on trucks.

North Korea has test-fired several SLBM s from underwater, and analysts say it is seeking to develop an operational submarine to carry them.

Photos showed the SLBM was labelled Pukguksong-5, potentially marking an upgrade of the Pukguksong-4, which was unveiled at a military parade in October last year.

"The new missile definitely looks longer," Michael Duitsman, a researcher at the California-based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), said on Twitter.

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The parade on Thursday did not show the country's largest intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), believed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to anywhere in the United States.

The ICBMs were showed off in the October parade.

The parade in itself was not intended to be a provocation but was a worrying sign of Pyongyang's priorities, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

"The economy is severely strained from pandemic border closures, policy mismanagement and international sanctions," he said.

"Despite or perhaps because of this, Kim Jong Un feels the need to devote scarce resources to another political-military display."

On Wednesday, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the leader and a member of the ruling party's Central Committee, criticised South Korea's military for saying it had detected signs of a parade in Pyongyang on Sunday.

Local news also reported she may have been recently 'demoted' after years of rising through the ranks.

North Korean officials have been meeting in Pyongyang for the first party congress since 2016.

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