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Update: North Korea holds military parade, no major weapons displayed

North Korea's government held a night-time military parade on 9 September to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country's founding but seems to have not displayed any major military equipment.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicated that the parade at Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung Square was mostly led by the Worker-Peasant Red Guards (WPRG) rather than regular troops.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency described the WPRG as “a civilian defence organisation composed of around 5.7 million workers and farmers”, while the KCNA referred to them as “paramilitary and public security forces”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who presided over the event alongside high-ranking members of the military and the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), did not give a speech.

Instead, Ri Il Hwan, Secretary of the WPK's Central Committee, was quoted as saying that Pyongyang “will increase the [Korean] People's Army ... in every way, put the defence industry on a higher Juche [self-reliance] and modernised basis, and keep spurring the struggle for carrying out the party's policy on putting all the people under arms and turning the whole country into a fortress to ceaselessly improve the defence capability of the country”.

KCNA images of the parade, which seems to have been smaller in scale than those held in October 2020 and January this year, did not show any major military equipment, but Pyongyang displayed what appeared to be a towed variant of the BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher.

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