North Korea celebrates 70th birthday in unison

Frederick Owens
September 10, 2018

Although North Korea stages military parades nearly every year, and held one just before the Olympics began in South Korea in February this year, Sunday's parade came at a particularly sensitive time.

They support North Korea's denuclearisation and abide by global sanctions against Pyongyang, but have rejected Trump's threats of military action made previous year.

Workers with paint brushes and brooms put the final touches on Pyongyang's iconic Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday as North Korea prepared for what promises to be its biggest celebration in years.

The parade, which appeared to be smaller than similar events in the past, was split into two sections, civilian and military.

To make sure the event is seen around the world, North Korea has invited a large contingent of foreign media to cover it and the other events including the military parade.

With tensions once again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump past year, and led to a unsafe volley of insults from both leaders, could be seen as a deliberate provocation.

At such events in North Korea performers normally play in front of a giant screen displaying the country's successes. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other!

The absence of military might from the parade echoes actions taken by North Korea to reassure the U.S. that they are still working toward decnuclearizing the peninsula - an agreement Trump and Kim singed during June's summit in Singapore.

It also brought the mass games back after a five-year hiatus. The two leaders pledged to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" without setting a timetable or explaining what that means.

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President Trump also praised his own leadership by saying communication with Kim is "much better than before" he took office.

Mass games performed by tens of thousands of people working in precise unison take months if not years of intense preparation and training, and have not been staged since 2013.

Prior to the parade, Mr Kim visited the mausoleum where his father and grandfather are interred.

Regarding the exact types of weapons displayed in the parade, the officials said further analysis is needed.

It will also allow the Kremlin to discuss the dramatic rapprochement between Trump and Kim Jong-un with key regional players. "They ended with these huge rockets coming down the street".

The slogans - one of which said "all efforts on economy" - are in line with Kim's new political priority outlined earlier this year before he met Trump.

For worldwide consumption at least, Kim Jong-un's flagship "Byungjin" policy line, which focused on joint development of the economy and strategic weapons, has been watered down, with the focus now shifting to economic progress and downplaying the arms. 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.

The U.S.'s newly appointed special representative for North Korea, former Ford Motor Co. executive Steve Biegun, was due to arrive in the region Monday.

The mass games performances are expected to continue for the next month or so, with tickets for foreigners starting at just over $100 and going up to more than $800 per seat.

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