September 09, 2018
Kim Jong-un did not address the crowd and celebrations more subdued than usual as talks continue with the US

North Korea staged a huge military parade on Sunday to mark 70 years since the country’s founding, but avoided jeopardising ongoing talks with the United States by not displaying its most powerful weapons and making no mention of its nuclear program.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, attended the march, but did not address the crowd which was estimated to be about 50,000, according to the Associated Press and CNN. Kim Yong-nam, head of North Korea’s parliament, delivered a speech that focused on the economy.
Kim Jong-un watched the parade with the head of China’s parliament, Li Zhanshu, and “they locked hands and raised arms at the end”, CNN reported. The speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house, Valentina Matvienko, also attended.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
About 12,000 mostly goose-stepping soldiers took part in the display of martial might that did not include intercontinental ballistic or medium range missiles. North Korea has claimed its ICBMs are capable of striking the US mainland and their appearance at the parade would have been seen as a provocation.
North Korea regularly hold military parades, but this event was far more subdued compared with those in the past, likely to avoid angering the US as negotiations continue over the North’s nuclear weapons program. Talks have stalled since Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump met in June, with the US demanding unilateral denuclearisation before it makes any concessions and North Korea requiring security guarantees, including a formal peace treaty for the 1950-53 Korean war.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
“Displaying ICBMs this year during diplomatic processes would have been too provocative,” Duyeon Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, wrote on Twitter. “Still, a signal that [North Korea] is continuing to play nice for now [and] being mindful. It’ll likely put ball back in US court.”
Some tanks featured anti-American slogans, as in past years, including one that read: “Destroy the US imperialist aggressors! The sworn enemy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” according to a photo from the NK News website that referred to North Korean by its formal name.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
After a smaller parade featuring tanks, fewer than the usual number of missiles and lots of goose-stepping units from all branches of the military, along with some students and others, the focus switched to civilian groups, ranging from nurses to construction workers, many with colorful floats beside them.
The “new line” of putting economic development first has been Kim’s top priority this year. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter US aggression and devote his resources to raising the nation’s standard of living.
This year’s celebrations also mark the revival of North Korea’s mass games after a five-year hiatus. The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are intended to be a display of national unity. This year’s spectacle, tickets for which start at just over $100 and go up to more than $800 per seat, also has a strong economic theme.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
The economy was also a big part of a concert held on the eve of the anniversary for foreign dignitaries and a large foreign media contingent allowed in for the events.
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
North Korea stages huge military parade to mark 70th anniversary
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