Military parades on holidays or memorial days are not uncommon in North Korea. But on the foundation’s 75th anniversary, the Pyongyang tour brings the spectacle in an unusual way.
On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Labor Party, North Korea attempted to show strength with an unusual military night parade. State television showed footage of the Saturday night anniversary celebration with thousands of soldiers marching in goose foot, vehicles loaded with missiles, cheering crowds and fireworks in the center of the capital, Pyongyang.
“I also send warm regards to the South Koreans”
He wishes all people in the world who fought the coronavirus good health, said ruler Kim Jong Un in a speech under the night sky before the start of the army show. “I also send warm regards to the South Koreans with the same wish.”
He also apologized for the difficult living conditions in the country. He was ashamed that he could not sufficiently repay the enormous trust of the population, said Kim, who at times seemed emotionally moved. “My efforts and dedication were not enough to get our people out of their difficult living conditions,” he said on a video shown on state television. He blamed international sanctions, hurricanes and the coronavirus.
North Korea, Pyongyang: Kim Jong-un, ruler of North Korea, delivers his speech at a ceremony. (Source: dpa)
The army in South Korea assumed the festivities would take place on Saturday night. They are included. Due to its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is subject to severe international sanctions and is largely diplomatically isolated.
Kim announced that North Korea would expand its armed forces for self-defense and deterrence. Only in this way could “all dangerous attempts and actions, including increasing nuclear threats by enemy forces” be controlled. However, Kim did not speak to the United States, which regularly accuses Pyongyang of hostile policies.
North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection
Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, delivered his speech on a podium in Kim Il Sung Square, which was brightly lit. It was midnight when he took the stage. The speech was repeatedly interrupted by cheers from the masses and applause. Some soldiers and civilians were crying. Nobody wore a mask to protect against the corona virus. North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection.
In the military parade that followed, the self-proclaimed nuclear power presented ballistic missiles from various distances. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a new ICBM was also being demonstrated. Experts therefore suspected that the missile could fly farther than the North Korean Hwasong-15 missile, which has a range of more than 12,800 kilometers. However, it appears that the new missile cannot carry multiple warheads.
At a party rally at the end of 2019, Kim Jong Un threatened that the world would see a ‘new strategic weapon’ in his country in the near future. He also stated at the time that Pyongyang was no longer bound by its moratorium on testing for atomic bombs and ICBMs. The background to this is the faltering nuclear negotiations between the communist leaders and the US. Since the failed summit between the two countries in Vietnam in February 2019, talks have not progressed.
Pyongyang uses the holidays to show strength
Pyongyang often uses important holidays or days of remembrance to show military strength. The time of day for the gun show was considered unusual this time. First, the General Staff in South Korea announced that there were signs that a major military parade had taken place in Pyongyang in the early morning hours. According to observers, the leadership apparently hoped that the nighttime mass spectacle would have a greater impact.
“The decision to stick with this at the beginning of the evening makes sense as Kim Jong Uns puts a strong emotional emphasis on overcoming the odds,” North Korean expert Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter. This should suggest: “The light of the Labor Party will penetrate the darkness”,