North Korea stages huge parade, but holds back on advanced missiles

10 September, 2018, 16:29 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Workers at a cosmetics factory in North Korea

"Much better than before I took office", Mr Trump tweeted.

US President Donald Trump has hailed the absence of ballistic missiles at the military parade held by the North Korean government on the 70th anniversary of the country's founding.

And with tens of thousands of troops, thousands of tanks, and hundreds of aircraft expected to roll through Pyongyang today in an anniversary parade - today could be the day Kim breaks his silence.

It earmarked what appeared to be a new era in the relationship between Pyongyang and Washington, but the North has been accused of secretly continuing its nuclear programme.

Other floats called for the reunification of the Korean peninsula - a theme that ran throughout the Olympics in South Korea earlier this year, where an envoy from the North including Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

After a 21-gun salute, dozens of infantry units marched through Kim Il Sung Square, some in night-vision goggles or wielding rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as the current leader - the founder's grandson - looked on from a rostrum.

China's top legislator on Sunday presented a signed letter from General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "North Korea relations and to declare the (Korean) war is over", said Lee Ho-ryung, chief of North Korean studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

The experts note it will be "significantly larger" than previously military parades - with the "largest number of pre-parade shelters" spotted since Kim came to power in 2011. But the only ones on show were the blue Kumsong-3, an anti-ship cruise missile, and the Pongae-5 surface-to-air weapon.

At its last military parade in February, Pyongyang displayed what appeared to be intercontinental ballistic missiles like the Hwasong-15 missile, capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to any city on the U.S. mainland, in a thinly veiled threat to Washington.

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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.

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

Foreign dignitaries and officials have begun arriving Pyongyang on the eve of North Korea's 70th founding anniversary, amid a deadlock in denuclearisation negotiations with the United States.

Thousands of accompanying citizens waved bouquets and flags, chanting "Long live" to the leader.

Diplomatic invitations for the anniversary have gone out around the world, but the only head of state known to be attending is Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The parties are struggling to implement a 1-1/2 page document signed by Trump and Kim in June at the first-ever summit between sitting US and North Korean leaders.

Yet this year, following Kim's multi-polar charm offensive - which some pundits believe is a desperate strategy to break out of his global isolation, while others believe it is a a natural progression now that he has essentially finalized his nuclear deterrent - Kim and Xi have met three times.

"There was no display of ICBMs, IRBMs (intermediate-range ballistic missiles), which would really not have sat well with the whole idea that North Korea is committed to ultimate demilitarization".

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