SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over a grand military parade in the capital, where troops deployed the latest hardware in a rapidly growing nuclear arsenal that is fueling tensions with North Korea’s neighbors and USA.

Photos of the parade by North Korean state media released Thursday show Kim attended the event with his wife and young daughter. He was smiling and raising his hand from a balcony as thousands of soldiers lined a brightly lit Kim Il Sung Square, named after his state-founding grandfather.

Wednesday night’s parade marked the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military and came after weeks of preparations involving large numbers of soldiers and civilians mobilized to glorify the Kim government and its relentless drive to consolidate North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.

Commercial satellite images of the parade released by Maxar Technologies Inc. showed huge trucks carrying missiles passing through Kim Il Sung Square.Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies

State media did not immediately confirm other details about the parade, including whether Kim made a speech or the types of weapons on display.

Commercial satellite images of the parade released by Maxar Technologies Inc. showed huge trucks carrying missiles passing through the square’s main street as thousands of onlookers looked on.

North Korean military parades are closely watched by governments and outside experts as they often feature newly developed weapons that the North intends to test or deploy.

Some experts had anticipated that North Korea would use the parade to display a new solid-fueled ICBM, which could be a crucial addition to the country’s long-range arsenal targeting the mainland United States.

Kim oversaw a test in December of a «high-thrust solid-fuel engine» for a new strategic weapon that he said would be developed in the «shortest period of time,» which experts said likely meant an intercontinental ballistic missile of solid fuel.

The use of solid fuel potentially offers greater mobility for missiles and reduces the amount of launch preparation time. All ICBMs the North has flight-tested since 2017 use liquid propellants.

Solid-fueled ICBMs highlighted an extensive wish list Kim announced under a five-year weapons development plan in 2021, which also included tactical nuclear weapons, hypersonic missiles, nuclear-powered submarines and spy satellites.

The parade came a day after Kim took his daughter, Kim Ju Ae, to visit the troops to mark the anniversary while praising the «irresistible power» of his nuclear-armed army.

Kim Ju Ae is believed to be between 9 and 10 years old. Analysts say Kim’s decision to bring his daughter to public events related to his military is to remind the world that he has no intention of voluntarily giving up his nuclear weapons, which he apparently sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival and the extent of the dynastic rule of his family. .