Missing missiles in North Korean parade 'big and very positive statement'


Some defectors and human rights activists criticize North Korea's group performances, including the Mass Games and military parades, for glossing over the country's human rights record and placing extreme demands on performers, especially children.

It also brought the mass games back after a five-year hiatus.

With a formation of glowing drones, lasers and stadium-sized gymnastics shows, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un relaunched the "Mass Games" on Sunday in a pageant that declared that "waves" of worldwide sanctions would break against the strength of North Korea's self-reliance. Pyongyang residents have been training for months for the anniversary and held up the bouquets to spell out words and slogans that can be seen from the VIP viewing area. The head of the nation's parliament, Kim Yong-nam addressed the crowd instead. He did not speak, but did send a message by locking fingers and raising hands with Li Zhanshu, a special envoy sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping. He called on the military to be ready to work to help build the economy.

"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".

But while South Korea's President Moon Jae-in is due in Pyongyang for a summit with his North Korean counterpart from September 18 to 20, talks with the United States have hit a roadblock over who should make the next move.

Washington is seeking the "final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea", while Pyongyang has only publicly affirmed its commitment to working towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, a euphemism open to interpretation on both sides.

Although North Korea stages military parades nearly every year, and held one just before the Olympics began in South Korea in February this year, the latest parade came at a particularly sensitive time.

"All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation".

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And sabre-rattling hit fever in February when the North held a parade just days before the Olympics to show off its new Hwasong-15 missiles.

If you flick through Juche, a glossy North Korean magazine whose title refers to the country's official ideology of self-reliance, you will find photo after photo of Kim Jong-un being shown around factories. "We will prove everyone wrong!"

Numerous tanks and other vehicles at the parade still bore a slogan on the front: "Destroy the United States imperialist aggressors, the sworn enemy of the DPRK people!" "Much better than before I took office", Trump tweeted.

At a concert on Saturday evening that kicked off the celebrations, the imagery on display focused heavily on the economy, with only a few short military segments, none of them showing missiles.

At the February parade, Pyongyang displayed what appeared to be intercontinental ballistic missiles like the Hwasong-15 missile, capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to any city on the USA mainland, in a thinly veiled threat to Washington.

Capital residents unable to attend at the square lined the streets around town to cheer and applaud convoys carrying the troops after they complete the parade duties.

The guide said Kim Jung Un "appreciates handsome women and wants North Korean women to be the most attractive of all".

As the country launches a "new era" of reconciliation and worldwide 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. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter US aggression and devote his resources to raising the nation's standard of living.