North Korea held its annual military parade on Thursday in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, and dictator Kim Jong Un presided over the event with his wife, Ri Sol Ju.
The parade has been highly anticipated, as North Korea held it on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It also marked the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s military.
But while it was a huge event at face value, the parade was not broadcast live on North Korean state-controlled television until after the event took place, and it appeared to be edited footage.
Notably, North Korea did not unveil any brand-new weapons. Rather, it displayed its current arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), tanks and thousands of troops who marched in unison.
The ICBMs on display were ones that have already been launched in the past.
— Josh Berlinger (@j_berlingerCNN) February 8, 2018
Kim said the parade proves that North Korea “has developed into a world-class military power,” CNN reported.
“As long as imperialism is present on the Earth and [United States’] hostile policy against North Korea continues, the mission of the Korea People’s Army to be the strong sword that protects the country and people, and peace can never change,” Kim said. “The final victory lies to our party and people who is holding the gunstocks of revolution.”
Watch footage from the parade here:
Kim is trying to downplay North Korean aggression and present a “warmer” image in light of the Winter Olympics, likely in order to woo South Korea. He is also sending his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to the Olympic Games – the first member of the Kim dynasty to step foot in South Korea.
While at face value, Kim Yo Jong’s appearance at the Games might seem like a sign of good will, it is also a distraction from the actual event and a deterrent to what has taken place between North Korea and other countries in the past year leading up to this point.
Despite the positive appearance, North Korea is expected to use the Olympics as a distraction from greater issues such as its nuclear weapons arsenal – these are so-called “charm offensives.” Historically, after such actions, North Korea often becomes aggressive and will act on that.
The Winter Olympics opening ceremony is Friday, Feb. 9, and the closing ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25.