Pyongyang : On the 70th anniversary of its founding, North Korea on Sunday staged a grand military procession, but did not showcase its intercontinental ballistic missiles, a regular feature in previous marches. The massive procession saw a beeline of military vehicles and soldiers marching past North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Kim Il Sung Square, located in the heart of Pyongyang, amid huge cheers from the crowd. The soldiers wore uniforms from different periods of North Korea’s history, from 1948 till the present day, CNN reported.
Kim oversaw the parade from a balcony in Kim Il Sung Square and was accompanied by other senior officials, including the special envoy sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Li Zhanshu. The two leaders raised their arms in jubilation at the end of the event.
Interestingly, the North Korean leader did not address after the parade ended, with the country’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, taking the stage instead, in what was a break from recent tradition. The latter pledged for economic development while making a strong statement to the soldiers that they should be ready for a war.
The theme of this year’s function was in line with the socio-economic development of the country.
In a rare gesture to highlight its military might, the North Korean government had invited foreign journalists and tourists to see the parade, although scribes were not allowed to carry phones or broadcast the event live, the report said.
Prior to the march, some experts had speculated North Korea had decided not to showcase the advanced ballistic missiles to not annoy US President Donald Trump.
The parade also comes against the backdrop of stalled diplomatic deliberations between Pyongyang and Washington over denuclearisation. It also comes after Kim and Trump had met for the first time in Singapore in June, where the former expressed his commitment of abandoning the regime’s nuclear development programme, in exchange for security and economic guarantees.