North Korea flexes new missiles at military parade

STORY: North Korea is set to beef up its nuclear arsenal.

That's what leader Kim Jong Un announced as Pyongyang marked the founding anniversary of its military with a massive parade, according to state media.

Pyongyang's news agency KCNA said Tuesday the parade featured North Korea's largest known intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17, while a state newspaper released images of various weapons being paraded through waving crowds.

The Hwasong-17 was test fired for the first time last month, but South Korean officials believe efforts to conduct a full test ended in an explosion over the city of Pyongyang.

North Korea has stepped up its weapons tests and displays of military power as denuclearization talks with the U.S. stalled and South Korea prepares to swear in its newly-elected conservative president.

U.S. and South Korean officials say there are signs of new construction at North Korea's only known nuclear test site, which has been officially shuttered since 2018, suggesting Pyongyang is set to resume testing nuclear weapons.

According to KCNA, Kim said the main mission behind the North's nuclear force is to deter war, but that other uses may apply.

North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs are banned by the UN Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on the country.

During a visit to Seoul last week, the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, said the allies would "respond responsibly and decisively to provocative behavior" -- but emphasized his willingness to engage with North Korea "anywhere without any conditions."

North Korea has said it remains open to diplomacy, but has rejected Washington's overtures as insincere, calling its sanctions and military drills with the South "hostile policies."