N Korea stages huge military parade; holds back on advanced missiles

Senior Parliamentary Secretary  Tan Wu Meng is accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the three-day trip

Washington sent mixed messages Thursday, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the North still had an "enormous amount of work to do", while Trump thanked Kim and tweeted: "We will get it done together".

While it remains to be seen what kind of weaponry will be rolled out Sunday, North Korea is clearly trying to switch its emphasis away from just military power to its efforts to improve the country's domestic economy. In this regard, China and Russian Federation should fully cooperate with worldwide sanctioning efforts and push North Korea to abide by the denuclearization obligations it agreed to in 1992.

Satellite images do not appear to show that North Korea is preparing to parade its medium-range and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, according to Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

And there were no nuclear tests to mark the day, as has happened in each of the last two years.

Two generations of the Kim dynasty and a dozen USA administrations later, North Korea has developed nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them across the globe, arguing this to be a necessary defense against Washington's hostility. It is still not crystal-clear whether North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, will give up his nuclear weapons and return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state.

Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with a Chinese special envoy as he oversaw the festivities.

The focus on the military and civilian sectors was not new to celebrations of North Korea's founding.

"Display of military prowess has always been crucial in North Korean statecraft", Hong, the researcher, said. "So I think it will be well received".


Kim told South Korean officials his faith in Trump was "unchanged" and that he wanted denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end to hostile relations with the United States before Trump's first term ends in early 2021, Chung said.

Immediately after the parade thousands of citizens walked through the square, escorting floats displaying economic themes and calls for Korean reunification.

"Unification is the only way Koreans can survive."

In April, Kim declared that the North's development of nuclear weapons had been completed and "socialist economic construction" would be the new strategic priority.

Some tanks, however, still bore a common North Korean slogan prominently, calling on the Korean People's Army (KPA) to "Destroy the U.S. Imperialist Aggressors, the sworn enemy of the DPRK!"

The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are meant to be a display of national unity.

While ticket prices for past Mass Games topped out at 300 euros ($350), this year VIP seats cost 800 euros, said Simon Cockerell, general manager for the Koryo Tours agency.

The joint letter follows the recent resumption of temporary reunions of relatives from the two Koreas separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and comes days after top South Korean security officials returned from a meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.

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