Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

North Korea marks 70th anniversary with carefully calibrated parade

North Korea marks 70th anniversary with carefully calibrated parade

Soldiers march with the portrait of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung during a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of country's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 9, 2018.

Trump has said Kim's recent statement that he wants to denuclearize North Korea during Trump's tenure as president was "a very positive statement".

North Korea held a major military parade and revived its iconic mass games to celebrate its 70th anniversary, but in keeping with leader Kim Jong Un's new policies the emphasis was firmly on building up the economy, not on nuclear weapons.

There had been speculation that Chinese president Xi Jinping might make his first trip to Pyongyang for the parade, but in the end he sent Li Zhanzhu, the head of the National People's Congress and the third in rank in the Communist Party hierarchy.

Grace Liu, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, said the low-key parade appeared to be aimed at maintaining a "relatively civil dialogue" with Seoul and Washington, especially given Moon's impending visit next week. The military portion featured thousands of soldiers wearing uniforms from different periods of North Korea's history, dating back from 1948 through to the present day.

Mr Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with a Chinese special envoy as he oversaw the festivities at Pyongyang's main Kim Il-sung square on a clear autumn day.

The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are meant to be a display of national unity.

Sunday's parade also emphasized the country's economy in addition to showcasing its military capabilities.

According to North Korea's KCNA, the landing of US forces in Incheon on September 8, 1945, was an infringement on Korean Peninsula sovereignty.

While his current focus is on worldwide diplomacy and domestic economic development, he commands both a nuclear arsenal and an intercontinental ballistic missile force.

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And immediately after the parade thousands of citizens rallied through the square, alongside floats displaying economic themes and calls for Korean reunification - the peninsula has remained split since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

In April Kim declared that the North's development of nuclear weapons had been completed and "socialist economic construction" would be the new strategic priority.

Last year, North Korea displayed its long-range missiles for the world to see, unnerving the White House and prompting a fiery exchange of insults from both sides, leaving many fearing war.

The displays - overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, the third member of his family to rule the country - are crucial to Korea-watchers, who observe them closely for clues about its latest advances.

Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on display.

A State Department official confirmed Saturday that Pompeo has letter from Kim for Trump.

The North is attempting to ease tensions with the U.S., following the historic summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year in Singapore.

This year's parade wasn't televised but the state media apparatus filmed it - even using drones with cameras.

The North Korean leader pledged to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, following Washington's demands for a "final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea". Ticket sales to tourists from China and Europe are reportedly brisk despite prices that start at 100 euros and go all the way up to 800 euros for VIP seating.

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