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Here’s video of North Korea’s military parade celebrating 70th anniversary

North Korea Victory Day parade. (Stefan Krasowski/Flickr)
September 10, 2018
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North Korea held its annual military parade on Sunday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the nation’s founding, and video shows that the display of long-range weaponry is noticeably absent.

Straying from previous years, the parade did not include a display of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or discuss its nuclear weapons program, conveying a noticeable change in tone amid denuclearization discussions with the United States, USA Today reported Sunday.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un watched the parade alongside his officials from a balcony overseeing Kim II Sung Square. He did not deliver a speech, however. Instead, head of North Korean parliament, Kim Yong Nam, gave a speech that primarily discussed the country’s economic development.

Kim has shifted his focus to diplomacy and economic development in 2018, and met with leaders of the U.S., South Korea, and China for the first time since he assumed leadership in 2011.

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In April, he declared that North Korea would be moving away from nuclear weapons development and instead planned to “focus all of its energy on building a socialist economy.”

The parade, which was smaller than expected, was divided into two sections – civilian and military. The military section featured high-stepping troops carrying plastic flower bouquets, as well as tanks and short-range weaponry. However, no long-range or nuclear weapons were displayed or mentioned.

John Delury, a professor of International Relations at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies, said: “The big missiles weren’t out there. That is a clear sign of restraint on Kim Jong Un’s part.”

“Compared to past parades they really pulled back on displaying missile systems,” said Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, according to CNN.

President Trump tweeted in recognition of the parade’s reduced emphasis on weapons.

“North Korea has just staged their parade, celebrating 70th anniversary of founding, without the customary display of nuclear missiles. Theme was peace and economic development. ‘Experts believe that North Korea cut out the nuclear missiles to show President Trump……”

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“…its commitment to denuclearize.’ @FoxNews This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you To Chairman Kim. 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, he said.”

The parade ended with North Korea’s first Mass Games in five years, an event with performances of 100,000 synchronized dangers and gymnasts, as well as socialist propaganda displayed by a crowd of children holding placards.

Critics noted that the excluded display of ICBMs does not indicate a reduced threat.

Adam Mount, director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said: “The United States should not forget about North Korea’s arsenal simply because it’s kept out of sight. Even as talks have ground to a halt, every indication is that research and development of nuclear capable systems is continuing.”

Progress on denuclearization discussions have slowed as both the U.S. and North Korea refuse to move forward without concessions from the other. However, last week, Kim reiterated his commitment to denuclearization and declared his “unwavering trust for President Trump.”

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