Kim Jong-un celebrated the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding yesterday with an enormous parade of military strength that pointedly did not include the long-range nuclear missiles that provoked threats of war from President Trump past year.
Line upon line of goose-stepping soldiers and columns of tanks shook the ground before giving way to chanting crowds waving flags and flowers as they passed a review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sat with a senior envoy from China, as well as other visiting foreigners. The two held up their joined hands to symbolize the countries' traditionally close ties, though the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping could indicate Beijing still has some reservations about Kim's initiatives.
Kim will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in the coming weeks to discuss a path toward denuclearization.
Kim Jong Un was there again, and he was the climax of the show. "He had promised a "grand celebration" of the foundation day, but there were not many things to celebrate on nuclear talks or economic development".
CNN reporter Will Ripley tweeted about the parade: "Soldiers marched wearing historic uniforms from different periods of North Korea's history, dating back from 1948 through today".
Xi said that he and Kim had reached important consensus during their three meetings this year, opening a new chapter in the development of China-DPRK relations.
Before this year, the "blood-forged" alliance between Korean War allies China and North Korea had been looking shaky. "But North Korea does know that if they do display ICBMs, the worldwide society will doubt their willingness for denuclearisation", he added.
Instead, the emphasis this year was on civilian measures focused on building the North's economy.
A State Department official confirmed Saturday that Pompeo has letter from Kim for Trump.
Kim's effort to ease tensions with US President Donald Trump have stalled since their June summit in Singapore.
Despite efforts to tone down the parade, there is one remarkable image that has captured the worldwide audience.
Kim presided over the parade on Sunday along with the head of the Chinese parliament and other high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North.
He also said the North wants to learn from China's experience of economic development and expand their bilateral relations, Yonhap reported.
Yet this year, following Kim's multi-polar charm offensive - which some pundits believe is a desperate strategy to break out of his global isolation, while others believe it is a a natural progression now that he has essentially finalized his nuclear deterrent - Kim and Xi have met three times. "Unification is the only way Koreans can survive", said an editorial in North Korea's party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
"It looks like the North Koreans really tried to tone down the military nature of this", said Chad O'Carroll, managing director of Korea Risk Group. In the past, the event had been broadcasted live or aired later with recorded footage.
The North displayed its latest missilery in the February parade, however, and Washington hardly batted an eye.
The officials, who requested anonymity, said the event was held at a "similar time frame" to February's one, with a "slight increase" in the number of participating troops.
Earlier on Sunday, Kim visited the mausoleum where his grandfather, the country's founder, and his father lie in state, according to state media.
The Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim and his entourage - including his right-hand man Choe Ryoung-hae - visited the Kumsusan Palace of Sun. While the event was overshadowed by the absence of regional allies' leaders, China and Russian Federation sent their senior representatives and congratulatory messages to mark the occasion.