North Korea spotlights economic development, not nuclear might, as it turns 70

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North Korea has long used parades to display the strength of its military, having most recently held one of February of this year.

Despite the display of military might, which included tank battalions, rocket launcher and military aircraft that formed the number 70th above the square, there was no display of intercontinental ballistic missiles, something everyone was watching for.

To make sure the event is seen around the world, North Korea has invited a large contingent of foreign media to cover it and the other events including the military parade.

"The DPRK has evolved into a strong military power, based on our party's efforts to fundamentally block the outside world's threats of attack and invasion against our country", he said, cited by NK News, in a speech mainly focused on the economy.

The military parade held in Pyongyang involved tanks, artilleries and goose-stepping troops walking past Kim and his foreign delegates, but ICBMs were not displayed during the two-hour event that ended in the morning.

Trump has welcomed Kim's latest commitment, sparking expectations that negotiations between the United States and North Korea will move forward. The two leaders pledged to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" without setting a timetable or explaining what that means.

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.

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.

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North Korea began celebrating its 70th birthday Saturday with a showcase of its achievements - without a missile in sight.

With tensions once again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump past year, and led to a risky volley of insults from both leaders, could be seen as a deliberate provocation. "Much better than before I took office".

But that was before Kim and President Donald Trump had their historic June summit in Singapore and signed a joint statement committing to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The parade came at a delicate time, as Kim presses for a peace declaration to formally end the war North Korea and China fought against US -led forces from 1950-53.

"China and North Korea, through the three past summits with Kim, opened a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations", Mr Xi said in the letter.

This year's parade wasn't televised but the state media apparatus filmed it - even using drones with cameras.

And the issue of nuclear-armed North Korea will most likely not be the main topic in Vladivostok, said Andrei Lankov, a historian at Seoul's Kookmin University.

Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart Moon will meet in Pyongyang on September 18-20 for the third time this year and discuss "practical measures" towards denuclearisation, officials in Seoul have said. Ticket sales to tourists from China and Europe are reportedly brisk despite prices that start at 100 euros and go all the way up to 800 euros for VIP seating.

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.

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