WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday to mark its 70th foundation anniversary.
- The military component of the parade was scaled down this year, and had no long-range missiles on display.
- The parade focused on military accomplishment, economic development, international engagement, and the unification of the Korean peninsula, which was divided since World War Two.
A military parade was staged on Sunday by North Korea to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding. The parade focused on conventional arms, peace, and economic development.
While no long-range missiles were on display, columns of goose-stepping soldiers and tanks shook the ground before giving way to chanting crowds waving flags and flowers as they passed the review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sat with visiting dignitaries.
According to Chinese state television reports, Kim told Chinese parliament chief Li Zhanshu that North Korea was hoping to learn from China’s experience in the field of economic development.
While North Korea has routinely used major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and latest developments in missile technology, the military component of the parade was scaled down this year. Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental missiles on display, and no nuclear tests were done to mark the holiday.
Instead, the parade underlined Kim’s stated aim for denuclearising the Korean peninsula, as discussed in his recent meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The parade featured themes of military accomplishment, economic development, international engagement, and the unification of the Korean peninsula which was divided since World War Two.
One float showed the slogan “All our might to build economy!” and was decorated with solar panels, wind power plants, dams, and a modern train, while floats on unification passed by the crowd of North Koreans waving unified Korea flags.
North Korea’s titular head of state Kim Yong Nam’s speech at the parade stated that since the country had already achieved status as a military power, it would now pursue efforts to strengthen its economy.
Kim Jong Un and South Korean counterpart Moon will meet in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20 for the third time this year to discuss “practical measures” towards denuclearisation.
Despite stalled progress on talks with Washington, South Korean officials stated that the North Korean leader still wants to denuclearize the peninsula within Trump’s first term.
Kim reportedly stated (non-verbatim): “North Korea upholds the consensus of the Singapore meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States and has taken steps for it and hopes the United States takes corresponding steps, to jointly promote the political resolution process for the peninsula issue.”