Trump salutes Kim for N.Korean parade without nuclear missiles

Workers at a cosmetics factory in North Korea

Image Workers at a cosmetics factory in North Korea

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North Korea routinely uses major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and the latest developments in missile technology.

North Korea's leader presided Sunday over a huge military parade, marking the North's 70th anniversary.

That's a big departure from February's parade, when it displayed its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, believed capable of reaching the US, and a number of other formidable missiles and the erector-launchers used to fire them off from remote locations.

Just seven months ago, a similar parade was held in the same square on the eve of the Winter Olympics in neighboring South Korea.

After a truncated parade featuring tanks and some of its biggest artillery, fewer than the usual number of missiles and lots of goose-stepping units from all branches of the military, the focus switched to civilian groups ranging from nurses to students to construction workers, many with colorful floats beside them.

Soldiers march past during a parade for the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 9, 2018. "Theme was peace and economic development", Trump wrote on his Twitter feed.

President Trump also praised his own leadership by saying communication with Kim is "much better than before" he took office. And South Korean President Moon Jae-in was slated to travel to Pyongyang on September 18 for the first such trip in 11 years. Their images have mostly been done with mosaics and are featured in the hallways of most government buildings.

This past Saturday she met with Kim Jong-un and gave him a personal message from Putin. He also oversaw the country's first successful nuclear test in 2006.

Part Olympic opening ceremony, part Super Bowl halftime show, the games were relaunched by Kim after a five-year hiatus.

The event was held in May Day stadium, the largest stadium in the world with a capacity to hold 150,000 people.

Although colourful signs with the words "Celebrating the 70th anniversary of founding" have been put up along main roads, slogans criticising the United States have not appeared in the capital.

Kim Jong Un was there again, and he was the climax of the show.

The process has become bogged down in recent weeks, with the North demanding a formal declaration that the Korean War is over, and the South's Moon caught between his neighbour and his ally.

Such set-piece dates are a mainstay of the North's political calendar, and have for years been opportunities to demonstrate progress in its quest for a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (C) waves as he stands beside China's Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu (center R) during the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, Sept. 9, 2018.

"There was no display of ICBMs, IRBMs (intermediate-range ballistic missiles), which would really not have sat well with the whole idea that North Korea is committed to ultimate denuclearisation".

Yet this year, following Kim's multi-polar charm offensive - which some pundits believe is a desperate strategy to break out of his worldwide isolation, while others believe it is a a natural progression now that he has essentially finalized his nuclear deterrent - Kim and Xi have met three times.

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