North Korean soldiers break boards and smash concrete in brutal video

Military display draws smiles from leader Kim Jong Un during weapons showcase

A shirtless soldier flexes his muscles and screams as men break thick lengths of wood over his back and head.

A row of military men punch bricks into smithereens. Another soldier launches himself face-first into concrete slabs.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un looks on.

A video aimed at displaying the strength, skill and fearlessness of North Korean soldiers has been shared following a defence exhibition this week to showcase the nuclear-armed country's weapons.

The soldiers, some in uniform, others topless, also display their martial arts skills, bend metal bars with their necks and lie on beds of nails to have blocks broken on their chests.

Mr Kim, surrounded by officers and with his sister and close adviser Kim Yo-jong at his side, looked pleased with the footage shared by state broadcaster KCTV.

Koreans have a long tradition of martial arts. It is often used by the North to symbolise its military prowess.

“These soldiers, embraced and raised by our party, have demonstrated to the whole world the strength, bravery and morale of the Korean People's Army,” says newsreader Ri Chun-hee, the North's most famous presenter, over the images.

The arms exhibition, at which Mr Kim blamed the US for tensions on the peninsula and accused South Korea of hypocrisy, is part of commemorations for the anniversary of the foundation of the ruling Workers' Party.

Mr Kim has overseen rapid progress in Pyongyang's banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which have earned it multiple international sanctions.

Ms Ri said the soldiers’ strength was “bestowed upon them by our dear leader Kim Jong Un.”

Updated: October 13th 2021, 4:31 PM