The leader of the reclusive regime paraded large rockets in front of frantic crowds over the weekend. The military parade was part of celebrations for the ruling party’s 75th anniversary. Kim Jong-un took pride in the fact the country did not need to enact social distancing as the regime claims they have fully contained coronavirus.
The so-called ‘supreme leader’ even declared that no North Korean had contracted the potentially deadly pathogen.
At the anniversary celebrations, he said: “I wish good health to all the people around the world who are fighting the ills of this evil virus.”
The North Korean leader then said his country would continue to “strengthen” its military for “self-defence and deterrence”.
As the despot watched the ranks of marching soldiers and new displays of weaponry he wished South Korea would “hold hands” with the North again when the pandemic ends.
READ MORE: North Korea crisis: Kim Jong-un breaks down in tears at parade
Other South Korean leaders, such as former prime minister Lee Nak-yon cautiously saw Kim’s rhetoric as a “positive sign”.
However, he highlighted the new weaponry as hiding another motivation.
Mr Lee said: “North Korea showed advanced weapons including a new ICBM, which indicated it has not abandoned its resolve to develop weapons of mass destruction, and those weapons can threaten peace on the Korean peninsula.”
Uncertainty around November’s US presidential election is raising tensions in the region.
Donald Trump, after his 2018 meeting with Kim Jong-un, saw a remarkable thaw in relations between the two countries.
This meeting also opened up dialogue again with Kim’s southern counterpart Moon Jae-in.
However, the killing of the South Korean fisheries official last month has hardened feelings between the North and South.
Senior fellow at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy in Seoul Shin Beom-chul said the main recipient for the North Korean’s speech was the US.
Mr Shin said: “By showing a new ICBM, the North suggested they can test it any time if things don’t go well after the election.
“Inter-Korean ties don’t count to them.”