Long-range missiles missing from North Korea anniversary parade

Long-range missiles missing from North Korea anniversary parade

Chinese parliament chief Li Zhanshu, who is in Pyongyang for celebrations marking 70 years since the founding of North Korea, was told by Kim that North Korea hopes the United States keeps to its side of the agreement, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

China's third highest ranking official Li Zhanshu (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wave to the crowd during a parade celebrating the North Korea's National Day and the 70th anniversary of its Foundation in Pyongyang, on Sept 9, 2018.

That includes iconic mass games that Pyongyang is organising for the first time in five years, a huge, nationalist pageant performed by up to 100,000 people in one of the world's largest stadiums.

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.

For global consumption at least, Kim Jong-un's flagship "Byungjin" policy line, which focused on joint development of the economy and strategic weapons, has been watered down, with the focus now shifting to economic progress and downplaying the arms.

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To commemorate the national event, Kim paid a rare visit to a memorial site in Pyongyang where the bodies of his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung are buried, according to Pyongyang's state-run media. 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.

Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with a Chinese special envoy as he oversaw the festivities. Kim not only needs security backing from Beijing but help rebuilding his economy, which South Korea's central bank said slipped into recession in 2017. So it's possible Kim might choose to display them but give the missiles a lower profile if he makes his usual address just before the parade begins.

The two leaders pledged to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" without setting a timetable or explaining what that means.

This year's celebration, however, did not feature the isolated nation's most advanced missiles.

The North also refrained from immediately televising the event, though North Korean media were out in force to film it, deploying booms and - for possibly the first time - drones with cameras.

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CNN reporter Will Ripley tweeted about the parade: "Soldiers marched wearing historic uniforms from different periods of North Korea's history, dating back from 1948 through today". "Thank you To Chairman Kim". We will both prove everyone wrong! "Much better than before I took office".

At one point jets trailing red, white and blue smoke - the colors of the North Korean flag - roared above the Juche Tower, the stone monument to Kim Il Sung's political philosophy. But the only types of missiles displayed were short-range surface-to-surface missiles, a surface-to-air missile and an anti-ship cruise missile.

The absence of long-range ballistic missiles confirmed earlier reports that North Korea was preparing a relatively "low-key" event.

A parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea took place in Pyongyang on September 9.

As the country launches a "new era" of reconciliation and global engagement, Sunday's premiere in Pyongyang was the first Mass Games in five years and was a major part of a carefully choreographed weekend of events created to highlight Kim's diplomatic campaign and plans for economic development.

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