Military parade marks 70th anniversary of North Korean regime

Trump praises Kim for event’s focus on growth and lack of nuclear weapons

US president Donald Trump has praised the reduced military presence at a North Korean parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's founding, inter-continental missiles have often been displayed during North Korean parades. Video: Reuters

 

Kim Jong-un presided over a tempered military parade on Sunday, in the latest sign that he wants to revive stalled nuclear talks with the US as he pushes for North Korea to rejoin the international community. Mr Kim marked the 70th anniversary of his grandfather’s regime without showing off provocative hardware such as long-range ballistic missiles that would likely have irked president Donald Trump, who said in June that North Korea is “no longer a nuclear threat”.

Mr Trump praised Mr Kim for the parade’s focus on growth and the reported lack of nuclear weapons, calling it a “big and very positive statement from North Korea” and taking credit for his efforts.

“Thank you to Chairman Kim,” Mr Trump said in a tweet.

“We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.”

In the past, North Korea has used such pageants to show off its most advanced weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the US. But on Sunday, nearly half of the military parade was devoted to showcasing civilian efforts to build the country’s economy, the Associated Press reported.

Foreign journalists in the North Korean capital posted Twitter photos showing parade floats with large slogans pushing economic development. The slogans – one of which said “all efforts on economy” – are in line with Mr Kim’s new political priority outlined earlier this year before he met Mr Trump.

In April, Mr Kim said economic development would be the country’s focus as he visited farms, construction sites and various factories prodding industrial growth. Kim is emphasizing peace and the economy as a way to “create the momentum in the US-North Korea relations and to declare the [Korean] war is over,” said Lee Ho-ryung, chief of North Korean studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. The parade came at a delicate time, as Mr Kim presses for a peace declaration to formally end the war.

Mr Kim got to the bargaining table in part by vowing not to resume nuclear tests, and he could use peace talks to legitimise his regime and get international sanctions relaxed. The US’s newly appointed special representative for North Korea, Steve Biegun, was due to arrive in the region on Monday. South Korean president Moon Jae-in was slated to travel to Pyongyang on September 18th for the first such trip in 11 years. The parties are struggling to implement a document signed by Mr Trump and Mr Kim in June at the first-ever summit between sitting US and North Korean leaders. The two leaders pledged to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” without setting a timetable or explaining what that means. Several media reports from Pyongyang said Mr Kim attended the parade but did not address the assembled crowd. – Bloomberg