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N. Korean leader attends paramilitary parade to mark key anniversary

Sept. 9, 2023 - 10:22 By Yonhap
This photo, provided by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Friday, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending a central party meeting to mark the 75th anniversary of the North Korean government's foundation on Friday. (Yonhap)

North Korea staged a paramilitary parade in Pyongyang on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of the regime's founding day, with leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, the North's state media said.

Kim observed the military parade that took place "with splendor" at Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the founding anniversary, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Kim did not deliver a speech at the event, which was also attended by his daughter, believed to be named Ju-ae.

Also present were a Chinese delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu Guozhong, and visiting members of a Russian army song and dance ensemble, the report added. Russia did not send a separate delegation this time.

The nighttime event marks the third military parade North Korea has staged this year alone, with the latest one taking place in July on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the 1950-53 Korean War armistice.

The parade came amid speculation that Kim may travel to Vladivostok to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week to discuss a possible arms deal.

A report of his possible trip to Russia spawns speculation that North Korea may provide artillery shells and other ammunition to Russia for use in Moscow's war with Ukraine in exchange for a weapons-related technology transfer from Russia, such as a spy satellite and a nuclear-powered submarine.

The North has been seeking to strengthen ties with China and Russia and double down on its weapons development in the wake of strengthening security cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan.

The latest paramilitary parade featured columns of motorcycles with high mobility and anti-tank missile launchers towed by tractors, according to the KCNA. The North apparently did not display its intercontinental ballistic missiles and other strategic weapons.

The parade was mostly led by the Worker-Peasant Red Guards, a civilian defense organization in the North consisting of around 5.7 million workers and farmers.

Meanwhile, the North's leader Kim greeted the delegation from Beijing and held talks in a "friendly" atmosphere where both sides agreed on "developing the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and further intensifying the multi-faceted coordination and cooperation," according to the KCNA.

The North's state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station said the leaders of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, have sent congratulatory messages to Kim on the occasion of the key anniversary.

Putin was quoted as saying he believes the North and Russia will expand bilateral cooperation in a strategic manner across all areas to contribute to safety and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, according to the radio network.

Xi reaffirmed the Chinese party and government's commitment to develop traditional friendly ties between Pyongyang and Beijing regardless of international and regional political circumstances, the state media said.

The military parade came as North Korea launched a newly built "tactical nuclear attack submarine" capable of carrying out an underwater nuclear attack, with leader Kim Jong-un vowing to "further strengthen the state nuclear deterrence." (Yonhap)