On Saturday, North Korea continued its dance with Western powers intent on disarming the fledgling nuclear state by displaying a wide array of what are assumed to be nuclear capable missiles in their annual “Day of the Sun” celebration.  The parade and festivities are all intended to commemorate the birth of North Korean founder, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

Among the missiles on display were the submarine-launched missiles North Korea has based their ballistic missile program off of, its land based counterpart that has seen a number of tests in recent months to varying degrees of success, and two never-before-seen intercontinental ballistic missile sized canisters that may be an indication of significant progress in North Korea’s attempts to develop a missile capable of striking the country they see as their greatest opponent: the United States.

The military parade was a spectacle to see, as a nation with fewer than five hundred total miles of paved road managed to create a scene reminiscent of dystopian films set in a war-torn future, or perhaps a throwback to Soviet Era nuclear posturing, as a veritable sea of men and women in military uniforms standing silently before massive national flags and banners served as the backdrop for a procession of weapons of mass destruction.  Objectively, it was an impressive spectacle to see, but because so little concrete information manages to slip through the cracks in the North Korean border, it also serves as an important opportunity to gather and assess intelligence pertaining to the country’s nuclear capabilities.