North Korea has unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, described by state media as “the world’s most powerful weapon”.
According to state media, several of the missiles were displayed at a parade overseen by leader Kim Jong-un.
The new weapon’s actual capabilities remain unclear, as it is not known to have been tested.
The show of military strength comes days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
It also follows a rare political meeting where Kim Jong-un decried the US as his country’s “biggest enemy”.
Images released by North Korean state media showed at least four large black-and-white missiles being driven past flag-waving crowds.
Clad in a leather coat and fur hat, Kim Jong-un is pictured smiling and waving as he watched the display in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, which also included infantry troops, artillery and tanks.
The official Korean Central News Agency said: “The world’s most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces.”
The event on January 14 did not showcase North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). That colossal weapon is believed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to anywhere in the US, and its size had surprised even seasoned analysts when it was put on show last year.
North Korea’s latest display of its arsenal comes at the end of a five-yearly congress of the ruling Workers’ Party.
In his address to members last week, Kim Jong-un had pledged to expand North Korea’s nuclear weapons and military potential, outlining a list of desired weapons including long-range ballistic missiles capable of being launched from land or sea and “super-large warheads”.
He also said that the US was North Korea’s “biggest obstacle for our revolution and our biggest enemy… no matter who is in power, the true nature of its policy against North Korea will never change”.
Under Kim Jong-un’s leadership North Korea has made rapid progress in its weapons program, which it says is necessary to defend itself against a possible US invasion.
According to experts, the unveiling of the new missiles appears designed to send the incoming Biden administration a message of North Korea’s growing military prowess.