North Korea celebrates the anniversary of its armed forces amid nuclear threats

On April 26, 2022, a military parade was held to celebrate the 95and anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, the armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The event was filled with highlights such as massive fireworks and flyovers of Su-25s and MiG-29s, both of which represent the most advanced aircraft North Korea currently possesses. The anniversary parade was widely covered on North Korean television and in the print media with a focus on the display of new and old missile systems that the country has devoted enormous efforts to developing in order to increase its capabilities of deterrence.

These systems range from modernized multiple launch rocket systems to solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile systems such as the Hwasong-17 or Hwasongpho-17, which were reportedly tested in March and February this year. With a showcase of their alleged hypersonic missile system which was announced as a target during their eighth party convention in January 2021. These systems pose a serious threat to the region and in particular South Korea and Japan as well as the United States. The North Korean regime uses these events to frame and signal, both at home and abroad, the regime’s goals and direction in the near future. This is done through the unveiling of new weapon systems as well as speeches and statements by the regime.

The Hwasongpho-17 is one of the new breakthroughs in North Korea’s missile development (KCNA Watch)

North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un greeted and applauded the procession of modern-looking tanks, self-propelled guns and endless rows of APK personnel equipped with a variety of weapons. uniforms and small arms from different eras of North Korea. military history. The soldiers in procession during the parade traveled through the KPA’s military history, ranging from guerrilla fighters who fought the Japanese occupation to Korean War veterans, and up to modern times.

This section of the parade focused on the ideological history of the KPA and KPRA marching under the colors of the “revolutionary struggle against the “million man army of the gangster-like Japanese imperialists”. Next in the procession are the forces of the Fatherland Liberation War, which is the North Korean name for the Korean War in DPRK parlance, armed with Mosin-Nagant rifles, anachronistic SKS rifles and outdated uniforms , followed by more modern forces. The first were the members of the Ministry of State Security responsible for protecting Kim Jong-un and his entourage. They were followed by other security forces with tracker dogs and agents epidemic prevention workers dressed in orange hazmat suits.

North Korean troops in Korean War-era uniforms lead the parade (DPRK state media)

Some of the other forces exposed were the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Corps, the 91st Corps and the 3rd Corps of the KPA which are responsible for the defense of the capital, as well as the 105th Guards Tank Division and the 425th Infantry Division motorized. All of these units have been described in North Korean media as “full of the unwavering resolve to easily die a heroic death for the great commander who gives eternal life with warm feeling, passion, love and of confidence and teaches winning and exceptional strategy”. bravery.”

KPA tanks of the 105th Guards Seoul Ryu Kyong-Su Armored Division on Parade (KCNA Watch)

One of the key elements of the anniversary parade was the speech delivered by Kim Jong-Un where he spoke at length about the progress made in the fields of national defense by the North Korean defense industry and people, the most highlight of the speech was where he singled out their nuclear forces for unique praise:

“In particular, the nuclear forces, the symbol of our national strength and the core of our military power, should be enhanced in terms of quality and scale, so that they can perform nuclear combat capabilities in all war situations, according to the objectives and missions of different operations and by various means”, and “…will continue to take steps to further develop our state’s nuclear forces at the fastest possible speed.”

A procession of ‘elephant-foot’ North Korean planes was followed by a flypast with the plane outlined by fluorescent stripes (DPRK state media)

The North Korean regime has become adept at manipulating the nations around it and drawing international attention to itself in order to extract concessions of one kind or another to enrich the regime and maintain survival. of Kim Jong-Un, his family and those close to them. As the international community continues to grapple with the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war and the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea cannot afford to slide into the background. Just yesterday, North Korea carried out the latest in a series of missile tests that saw a ballistic missile fired into the sea off its eastern coast. Last month, Japan released images of an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed 150 kilometers west of the Oshima peninsula in Hokkaido. The international community must be prepared for possible escalations by the North Korean regime as it attempts to consolidate its ability to influence the region and pledges to respond to such provocations with mutual assistance and cooperation.