PYONGYANG — North Korea held a military parade in celebration of the country’s 73rd anniversary, but without displaying ballistic missiles. Soldiers and workers marched in protective suits under the supervision of dictator Kim Jong-un, according to photos released by state media on Thursday.
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In addition to the fighter planes that flew over the parade in Kim Il-sung Square in the capital Pyongyang, some conventional weapons were displayed, including several rocket launchers and tugboats carrying anti-tank missiles. The Korean leader did not speak, unlike in October of last year, when he bragged about the country’s nuclear capabilities and displayed unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade.
Rodong Sinmun newspaper published a photo of Kim, in a cream suit, waving from a balcony toward the assembled troops and spectators. At his appearance, he was seen alongside children and without a mask.
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North Korea often celebrates the country’s major anniversaries by displaying thousands of troops and their most advanced military equipment at parades on Kim Il-sung Square, in honor of the North Korean dictator’s grandfather.
The KCNA network reported that members of the strong Workers-Peasant Red Guard participated in the march. It was the first time since 2013 that North Korea held a parade with force, released as a reserve after the 1950-1953 Korean War.
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Experts point out that the perception of the absence of strategic weapons and the focus on public security forces showed that Kim is focused on domestic issues like Covid-19 and the economy. The country is suffering from food shortages and a deepening crisis due to the pandemic.
Amid a diplomatic stalemate with the US, Kim and his sister Kim Yo-jong emphasized that North Korea will increase its nuclear deterrent and pre-emptive strike capabilities, while demanding that Washington abandon its “hostile” policies – a reference to maintenance of sanctions by the Americans, refusing to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.
Last month, Kim Yo-jong rebuked the US and South Korea for joint military exercises. She and another North Korean official threatened to take unspecified measures that could result in a “security crisis”.