North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended a military parade Thursday night in Pyongyang featuring a display of the country's latest drone technology, with Russian and Chinese delegations attending the event held to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, state-run media said.
Kim did not make a speech at the parade, which included flyovers of the new spy and attack drones and displays of Hwasong-17 and Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles, the official Korean Central News Agency said Friday.
North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam criticized recent military activities by the United States and South Korea and pledged in his speech at the event that the country's forces will "never tolerate any military acts of encroaching upon the sovereignty and security of the state," KCNA said.
The North Korean military "will take more offensive armed countermeasure," he warned.
Kang was referring to the dockings of U.S. nuclear-powered submarines at South Korean ports earlier this month. The minister had warned their deployment could "fall under the conditions of the use of nuclear weapons" under North Korean law.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Li Hongzhong, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's Political Bureau, were among those attending the parade held at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square, named after the nation's founder and the current leader's grandfather.
The delegations from Russia and China, which like North Korea are currently embroiled in tensions with the United States, are the first known foreign groups to be invited to North Korea since the country's 2020 COVID-19 border closure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message sent to mark the anniversary that Pyongyang's firm support of Moscow in its self-described special military operation in Ukraine highlights "determination to counter the policy of the Western group which hinders the establishment of the truly multi-polarized and just world order," KCNA said.
It marked the first time a representative of the Russian government attended a North Korean military parade under the current North Korean leadership, according to South Korean officials.
On Thursday, Kim invited Shoigu to an office of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea for a luncheon and hosted a reception for the Russian delegation led by the minister, the news agency said.
The new unmanned aircraft, which resemble a U.S. Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper drone, were shown to Shoigu on Wednesday when he visited an arms exhibition alongside Kim.
The new-type, solid-fuel Hwasong-18 ICBM was test-launched in April and earlier this month. It is viewed as capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
A solid-fuel missile does not require fueling prior to launch like a liquid-fuel missile, making it harder for adversaries to detect launch preparations and giving it a wider range of capabilities.
Pyongyang most recently staged a military parade in February to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces.
North Korea claims the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in victory over U.S.-led allied forces.
In the conflict, which began on June 25, 1950, with a North Korean invasion aimed at unification under the Communist regime, U.N. forces led by the United States fought alongside South Korea against the North which was supported by China and the Soviet Union.