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North Korea parades latest missile systems

People at a railway station in Seoul watch a news broadcast of a military parade held in Pyongyang to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the KPA on 25 April 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea held a large-scale military parade on 25 April, showcasing some of its new strategic and tactical missile systems.

At the event – held in Pyongyang to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army (KPA) – leader Kim Jong-un also vowed to accelerate the development of the country's nuclear forces.

New missiles paraded at the event included many that are under development through North Korea's five-year weapons modernisation programme, which was announced by Kim in early 2021.

These featured the Hwaseong-17 (also spelt Hwasong-17) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM); the Hwaseong-8, a claimed hypersonic missile; and new variants of North Korea's KN-23 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).

They also included a new short-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which appears a more capable version of the Pukguksong-5 SLBM showcased at North Korea's last military parade in January 2021, and a new type of medium-range ballistic missile, featuring a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle, which was believed to have been tested in January 2022.

Other systems on show included the Hwaseong-15 ICBM, which was test-launched in November 2017, and the KN-24 SRBM, which was launched in January 2022.

North Korea's official media, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), did not provide details about the missile systems displayed at the event.

However, it did identify the Hwaseong-17, claimed by Pyongyang as its biggest strategic missile, as a weapon that “demonstrates the absolute power of ‘Juche' [self-reliant] Korea and the strategic position of our republic to the world”.

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