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President Trump Praises North Korea's Toned-Down Parade

10 September 2018

The North Korean leader presided at the parade but did not deliver a speech there and authorities opted not to display any intercontinental or medium-range ballistic missiles among the military hardware in the procession.

The anniversary celebrations on Sunday will feature the first military parade since leader Kim Jonhg-un and US President Donald Trump held their historic summit in June in Singapore.

Guests at the parade included the head of the Chinese parliament and high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North. The games are a grand spectacle that features almost 20,000 people flipping placards in unison to create huge mosaics as thousands more perform gymnastics or dance in formation on the competition area of Pyongyang's 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.

The North Korean leader pledged to work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, following Washington's demands for a "final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea". "He had promised a "grand celebration" of the foundation day, but there were not many things to celebrate on nuclear talks or economic development".

"Just moments ago they put on that he said very strongly that we want to denuclearize North Korea during President Trump's tenure. just said it, just said it", Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana.

"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 demilitarization". Trump tweeted. "There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other!"

Mr Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with a Chinese special envoy as he oversaw the festivities at Pyongyang's main Kim Il-sung square on a clear autumn day.

The DPRK is carrying out the new strategic line and focusing on the development of economy, said Kim, adding that his country expects to learn from China and further expand exchanges and cooperation in different fields so as to jointly promote the socialist course in both countries.

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This was in stark contrast to similar parades held in April previous year and in February, when Kim Jong-un rolled out the newest Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICMBs.

As the country launches a "new era" of reconciliation and global engagement, Sunday's premiere in Pyongyang was the first Mass Games in five years and was a major part of a carefully choreographed weekend of events created to highlight Kim's diplomatic campaign and plans for economic development. "Much better than before I took office", the president said.

Washington wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program while Kim wants security concessions and a formal agreement ending the Korean War.

"North Korea relations and to declare the (Korean) war is over", said Lee Ho-ryung, chief of North Korean studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

Kim's new missile was allegedly already finished when he ordered the launch at the beginning of this year amid tensions with Trump.

Kim and Moon will meet in Pyongyang on September 18 for the third time this year to discuss "practical measures" towards denuclearisation, officials in Seoul have said. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter U.S. aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living.

The mass games, dubbed "Shining Fatherland", featured everything from a display of drones flying in formation to fireworks, lasers, circus-style performances and at one point hundreds of martial artists doing taekwondo. North Korea traditionally uses holidays to showcase its military arsenal and new technology.

Tickets to this year's spectacle started at just over US$100 and went up to more than US$800 per seat.

President Trump Praises North Korea's Toned-Down Parade