Kim un­veils new mis­sile at pa­rade

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Kim Tong-Hyung Kim Tong-Hyung is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Satur­day that his coun­try would “fully mo­bi­lize” its nu­clear force if threat­ened as he took cen­ter stage at a mil­i­tary pa­rade in which the coun­try un­veiled what ap­peared to be a new in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile and other ad­di­tions to its grow­ing weapons arse­nal.

Kim, how­ever, avoided di­rect crit­i­cism of Wash­ing­ton dur­ing the event, which cel­e­brated the 75th an­niver­sary of the coun­try’s rul­ing party and took place less than four weeks be­fore the U. S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. In­stead, he fo­cused on a do­mes­tic mes­sage urg­ing his peo­ple to remain firm in the face of “tremen­dous chal­lenges” posed by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and crip­pling

U. S. led sanc­tions over his nu­clear pro­gram.

Kim de­scribed the North’s con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to de­velop its nu­clear de­ter­rent as nec­es­sary for its de­fense and said it wasn’t tar­get­ing any spe­cific coun­try with its mil­i­tary force.

But “if any force harms the safety of our na­tion, we will fully mo­bi­lize the strong­est of­fen­sive might in a pre­emp­tive man­ner to pun­ish them,” he said.

His speech was punc­tu­ated by thou­sands of goos­es­tep­ping troops, tanks, ar­mored ve­hi­cles, rocket launch­ers and a broad range of bal­lis­tic mis­siles rolled out in Py­ongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.

The weapons in­cluded what was pos­si­bly the North’s big­gest yet ICBM, which was mounted on an 11axel launch ve­hi­cle that was also seen for the first time, and a pre­sump­tive new solid­fuel weapon that could be an ad­vanced ver­sion of a North Korean mis­sile de­signed to be fired from sub­marines.

They high­lighted how the North has con­tin­ued to ex­pand its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties amid a stale­mate in nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which prompted Kim to pledge in De­cem­ber that he would con­tinue to bol­ster his nu­clear arse­nal amid “gang­ster­like” U. S. pres­sure and soon un­veil a “new strate­gic weapon to the world.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff had said early Satur­day that there were signs that the North had mo­bi­lized “large crowds and equip­ment” for a mil­i­tary pa­rade at Kim Il Sung Square dur­ing the early morn­ing hours. In the evening, North Korean state tele­vi­sion be­gan air­ing a taped broad­cast of the event, which be­gan late Fri­day.

Goos­es­tep­ping troops were seen march­ing in the streets in front of the brightly il­lu­mi­nated square, as a mil­i­tary band per­formed while mov­ing in for­ma­tion, shap­ing “10.10,” “1945,” and “2020” in honor of the party an­niver­sary.

The per­form­ers and tens of thou­sands of spec­ta­tors roared as Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, ap­peared from a build­ing as the clock struck mid­night. Kim, flanked with se­nior of­fi­cials and smil­ing widely, waved to the crowd and kissed chil­dren who pre­sented him with flow­ers be­fore tak­ing his spot on a bal­cony.

KRT

A mil­i­tary pa­rade in Py­ongyang to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of the rul­ing party in­cluded a weapon that is pos­si­bly North Korea’s biggestyet ICBM.

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