North Korea celebrates anniversary of national founding with military parade

North Korea celebrates anniversary of national founding with military parade

Kim Jong-Un will observe the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding in Pyongyang today. However, the traditional mass military parade

Residents pass by a painting featuring late North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung (L) and Kim Jong-il ahead of 70th anniversary of North Korea’s foundation in Pyongyang

Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

Kim Jong-Un will observe the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding in Pyongyang today. However, the traditional mass military parade is expected to be toned down with the absence of Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The parade comes three days after the dictator announced a denuclearisation timeline to start towards the end of President Trump’s first term. The absence of ICBMs and other advanced missiles contrasts to an April 2017 parade, at the height of the nuclear test stand-off with the US, where the visibility of ICBMs was interpreted as a warning to the US.

ICBMs tested in November 2017 are touted as having the ability to carry nuclear warheads to the US mainland as far as New York. Should these kinds of missiles be absent from the parade, it signals a more diplomatic message to the regime’s neighbours—especially South Korea, and the United States.

This points to Kim wishing to portray his regime’s conciliatory stance to South Korea ahead of the Inter-Korea summit and a regime on the front-foot in relation to ongoing denuclearisation with the US. However, it also covers the fact that Kim has not really given away many tangible concessions in his nuclear negotiations.

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