North Korea marks 70th anniversary with somewhat muted military parade

Officials at a ceremony to celebrate North Korea's 70th anniversary

Officials at a ceremony to celebrate North Korea's 70th anniversary

But it was the absence of any advanced missile systems that caught the eye.

In April, Kim declared that the North's nuclear programme had been successfully completed and "socialist economic construction" was the new strategic priority.

Almost 300 days have now passed since Kim launched a missile - and there fears that could all come crashing down with a test today to marking the founding of North Korea by Kim's granddad Kim Il-Sung.

President Donald Trump applauded the lack of intercontinental ballistic missiles on his Twitter account Sunday.

Kim has reiterated his commitment to dismantle his atomic weapons program, with officials of his government adding that that should occur during Trump's first term in office, which is scheduled to end in January 2021.

The past two big anniversaries of North Korea's founding, in 2008 and 2013, did not feature the Korean People's Army, only the civil defense units, which are officially called "Worker Peasant Red Guards".

A parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea took place in Pyongyang on September 9. This spectacle of human art, in which thousands of carefully drilled performers hold up colored placards that, in combination, create a series of shifting images, is a flagship specialty of North Korea.

"Unification is the only way Koreans can survive."

Although North Korea stages military parades nearly every year, and held one just before the Olympics began in South Korea in February this year, the latest parade came at a particularly sensitive time. Washington wants Kim to commit to denuclearization first, but Pyongyang wants its security guaranteed and a peace agreement formally ending the Korean War.

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.

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This parade, by contrast, ended with a "social presentation", he said.

The process has become bogged down in recent weeks, with the North demanding a formal declaration that the Korean War is over, and the South's Moon caught between his neighbour and his ally.

"I believe we sang (about the) people's hope which is wielding a strong power of scientific technology and nuclear state once again so that we can be the world's most powerful country".

Kim himself did not speak at the event, leaving it to Kim Yong Nam, the head of the country's parliament, to make an address emphasizing the economic goals of the regime, not its military might, Reuters reported.

Foreign dignitaries are even expected to attend - including Chinese president Xi Jinping's righthand man Li Zhanshu.

At the end of the parade, Kim and Chinese envoy Li locked hands and raised their arms to symbolize the countries' traditionally close ties.

But instead Xi will be represented by Li Zhanshu, the head of China's parliament and a member of the Communist Party's politburo standing committee, the most powerful body in the country.

For his part, Kim said North Korea adheres to the consensus reached at the summit and "has taken measures in this regard while the U.S. side should take corresponding actions to jointly promote the political settlement of the Korean peninsula issue", according to Xinhua. She had an audience with Kim on Friday, at which he was also pictured laughing.

The economic theme was also prominent in the new mass games routine, which was markedly lighter in tone and more entertaining than in previous years, when it tended to be more dramatic and overtly political.

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