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Kim vows to boost North Korea nuclear arsenal

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North Korea has held a parade marking the 90th anniversary of its army's founding. Photo: AAP
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North Korea will speed up development of its nuclear arsenal, leader Kim Jong-un has said at a military parade that displayed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The parade occurred on Monday during celebrations for the founding anniversary of North Korea’s armed forces, state news agency KCNA said on Tuesday.

It comes as Pyongyang has stepped up weapons tests and displays of military power amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the US and an incoming conservative administration in South Korea.

“The nuclear force of the republic must be ready to exercise its responsible mission and unique deterrence any time,” Mr Kim told the gathering, according to KCNA.

North Korea would “continue to take steps to further bolster and develop its nuclear forces at the maximum speed”, he said.

The fundamental mission of its nuclear force was to deter war, but that may not be the only use if other countries imposed undesired circumstances, Mr Kim said.

The parade featured North Korea’s largest ICBM, the Hwasong-17, KCNA reported.

The massive missile was test fired for the first time last month, but officials in South Korea believe efforts to conduct a full test ended in an explosion over Pyongyang.

North Korea’s state media did not immediately release imagers of Monday’s parade, but the processions often display previously unseen weapons, and usually include rows of conventional weapons such as artillery and tanks, plus tens of thousands of goose-stepping troops shouting “long life” to Kim Jong-un.