North Korea has staged a mass rally this week as the isolated nation outlined its plans to shut out Covid-19 and build up its military.

The surreal gathering saw uniformed crowds holding up flags and large banners with political slogans written over them as top officials watched over from Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung square.

It was held in support of the end-of-year Workers' Party conference last week, which saw senior party members detail plans to prevent the global pandemic from reaching the country and commit to renewing North Korea's military strength.

Citizens invited to attend the session included factory and office workers, as well as farmers and students from around the capital city.

It has been suggested by South Korean media that the choice of guests was designed to encourage progress in the economy, which has struggled in recent years amidst international sanctions and several poor harvests in recent years.

Ahead of last week's party session last week, an editorial piece in North Korea's state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated that North Koreans should be ready to defend their leader Kim Jong-un against foreign invasion.

Stressing the importance of defending Kim, the article called for the nation to become an "impregnable fortress" with "bulletproof walls" that they must defend with their lives.

This grandstanding has been followed by a new round of weapons testing, with North Korea launching a deadly ballistic missile from the back of a vehicle into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning.

In an image released by the national news agency KCNA yesterday evening, a huge plume of fire and smoke can be seen emerging from the base of the missile as it is fired.

It is understood to have taken its route towards the sea from the northern province of Jagang, which is on the border with China.

Hypersonic weapons are considered to be part of the 'next generation' of weapons, as they aim to shorten reaction times and bypass previous defence mechanisms.

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