North Korea marks anniversary with huge parade

Workers at a cosmetics factory in North Korea

PYONGYANG- With no long-range missiles on display, North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday focused on peace and economic development, filled with colored balloons and flowers to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's founding.

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

Past games have featured huge stadiums filled with performers, synchronised gymnasts and co-ordinated dance displays.

The U.S. conducted 33 investigative and recovery operations in the country before former President George W. Bush's administration called off the search, claiming the safety of American participants was not guaranteed.

Step in the right direction: Korean People's Army soldiers march during a mass rally on Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang yesterday. Residents of Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, trained for months for the anniversary and held up the bouquets to spell out words and slogans that can be seen from the VIP viewing area.

This year is of special historic significance for China-DPRK relations, said Li, adding that the three meetings between Xi and Kim had ushered in a new historic stage of the bilateral ties.

In the meeting with Mr Kim, Mr Li also reiterated China's commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, according to the report, reported Yonhap.

Clearly, he is all in on the peace deal with South Korea, although he has shown little movement since meeting with Trump in June on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's titular head of state, said during a speech at the parade that the country had achieved its status as a military power and would now be focusing on strengthening its domestic economy, the news service reported.

The combining of military and civilian sections is a familiar North Korean parade format.

According to North Korea's KCNA, the landing of US forces in Incheon on September 8, 1945, was an infringement on Korean Peninsula sovereignty. Both sides are now insisting on a different starting point.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong appeared in public for the first time in three months.

Trump responded favorably to Kim's decision to leave ICBMs out of his military parade this weekend, calling it "a very positive statement" on Twitter.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (C) waves as he stands beside China's Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu (center R) during the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, Sept. 9, 2018. "We will prove everyone wrong!" There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other.

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

Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental missiles on display and there were no nuclear tests.

In April, Kim declared that the North's nuclear programme had been successfully completed and "socialist economic construction" was the new strategic priority. 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.

Yet despite the impressive hardware and manpower that was rolled out, the brilliantly synchronized event seemed more about diplomacy than firepower - and earned the plaudits of none other than US President Donald Trump.

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