North Korea showed off a new intercontinental ballistic missile that analysts described as the largest of its kind in the world, as the nuclear-armed country defied the coronavirus threat with thousands of maskless troops taking part in a military parade.

The ICBM, carried on a transporter-erector-launcher with no fewer than 11 axles, rolled through Kim Il Sung square as leader Kim Jong-un watched from a rostrum, footage from state broadcaster KCTV showed. 

It was the "largest road-mobile liquid-fueled missile anywhere" tweeted Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists.

Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been deadlocked since the collapse of the Hanoi summit early last year and the North is widely believed to have continued to develop its arsenal throughout the diplomatic process.

It already launched missiles with the range to reach anywhere in the continental US in 2017, but analysts suggested the new weapon could have multiple re-entry vehicle capabilities, helping it evade US defence systems.

The missile could see its first test around the time of the inauguration of the next US presidential term, as a signal to either Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

The ICBM was preceded earlier by the Pukguksong-4a, a new submarine-launched missile that would add another dimension to Pyongyang's arsenal, which it says it needs to deter a US invasion.

Mr Kim - wearing a grey suit - told the crowd Pyongyang "will continue to strengthen our military for self-defence and deterrence".

"If you don't have the strength, you'll have to wipe away the tears and blood that flow with your two clenched fists," he added. 

Women in the crowd wiped tears from their eyes as he spoke, the footage showed.

The widely anticipated display was part of commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party, and according to Seoul's joint chiefs of staff took place early today, several hours before it was broadcast.

South Korean and US intelligence agencies were "closely tracking the event", they added.

At the end of December, Mr Kim threatened to demonstrate a "new strategic weapon", but analysts say Pyongyang will still tread carefully to avoid jeopardising its chances with Washington ahead of next month's presidential election.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, cautioned that it was not yet clear how much of the equipment on show "really works".

But he added: "Politics of deception notwithstanding, the weapons featured in Pyongyang's processions are a sobering reminder that North Korea will not be ignored."

During the parade unit after unit of soldiers from different specialisms marched through the square, with Mr Kim at times smiling and joking with his generals.

Squadrons of warplanes flew overhead dropping flares before a series of armoured vehicles and missiles rolled through streets, and none of the participants or the audience in the stands were wearing masks.

Unlike on many previous occasions, no international media were allowed in to watch the parade.

And the few foreigners remaining in Pyongyang were not welcome at the commemorations, according to the Russian embassy, which posted a message from the authorities on its Facebook page urging diplomats and other international representatives not to "approach or take photos" of the venues.

The ruling party anniversary comes during a difficult year for North Korea as the coronavirus pandemic and recent storms add pressure to the heavily sanctioned country.

The North has a ramshackle health system that would struggle to cope with a major outbreak and Mr Kim closed its borders in January to try to prevent contamination from the disease that first emerged in neighbouring China.

Despite it since sweeping the world, with more than 36 million cases, he said the North had not seen a single infection, and he repeatedly thanked his citizens for their efforts.