North Korea rolled out some of its latest tanks and its best-trained goose-stepping units through Kim Il Sung Square in a major military parade Sunday to mark its 70th anniversary, but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half the event to underscoring Kim Jong Un's new strategy of putting economic development front and center. Tens of thousands of North Koreans waving brightly colored plastic bouquets filled Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square as the parade began, reports the AP. Pyongyang residents have been training for months for the anniversary and held up the bouquets to spell words and slogans that can be seen from the VIP viewing area. Those unable to attend at the square lined the streets around town to cheer convoys carrying the troops after they complete parade duties.
Although North Korea stages military parades almost every year, and held one just before the Olympics in South Korea in February, Sunday's parade came at a particularly sensitive time. Kim's effort to ease tensions with President Trump has stalled since their June summit in Singapore. With tensions again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump last year, and led to a dangerous volley of insults from both leaders, could have been seen as a deliberate provocation. The "new line" of economic development has been Kim's top priority this year. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter US aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living. This year's celebrations also mark the revival of North Korea's iconic mass games, which involve tens of thousands holding up placards or dancing in precise unison in a display of national unity.
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