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Sunday, November 27, 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends massive parade to celebrate his grandfather’s birth

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took part in a massive civilian parade in the capital Pyongyang, celebrating a milestone anniversary of his state-founding grandfather, with thousands in choreographed displays of loyalty to the Kim family. marched in. , state media said on Saturday.

The reports did not mention any speeches or remarks made by Kim during Friday’s event and the country appears to have spent its biggest holiday without showcasing its military hardware amid rising tensions over its nuclear program.

Commercial satellite images in recent weeks have indicated preparations for a major military parade in Pyongyang, which could mark the anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military on April 25 and display the most advanced weapons in Kim’s nuclear arsenal. such as an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Read more: North Korea confirms it has fired its biggest missile ever, US imposes sanctions

There is also hope that Pyongyang will further increase its weapons testing in the coming weeks or months, possibly resuming nuclear explosive tests or test-flying missiles on Japan, as it attempts to force a response from the Biden administration. while it is busy with Russia. Invasion of Ukraine and rivalry with China.

Images from state media showed Kim waving from a balcony named after his grandfather, looking at Kim Il Sung Square, giant columns of people carrying red plastic flowers and political slogans floating below. Huh.

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Ri Il Hwan, a member of the ruling Workers’ Party politburo, said in a speech calling for loyalty that North Koreans “will always be victorious” under Kim’s guidance. Kim appeared to have made no speeches and state media did not mention any remarks about the United States or rival South Korea.

Hours before the parade, thousands of youth danced collectively in the square, as fireworks started from a nearby river bank and the night sky lit up.

Kim Il Sung’s birthday is the most important national holiday in North Korea, where the Kim family has ruled under a strong personality cult since the nation’s founding in 1948. This week’s celebrations to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth came as his grandson aimed at reviving nuclear fission. To force the United States to accept the idea of ​​North Korea as a nuclear power and to lift severe economic sanctions.

North Korea has begun 2022 with a series of weapons tests, including the first flight test of an ICBM since 2017. South Korea’s military has also detected signs that North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear test ground that was partially destroyed weeks before Kim’s first summit. The then US President Donald Trump in June 2018.

Read more: South Korea’s newly elected president takes a tough stand on North Korea

Experts say Kim Jong Un’s defiant displays of his military might are also driven by domestic politics, as he does not have significant achievements to trumpet his people after a decade in power.

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Their stated goals of simultaneously developing nuclear weapons and bringing economic prosperity to their impoverished population were derailed in 2019 following the collapse of their second summit with Trump, when Americans criticized North Korea’s limited surrender of its nuclear capabilities. instead rejected demands for relief from major sanctions. , The COVID-19 pandemic further took a toll on their broken economy, forcing them to admit last year that the North was facing its “worst-case scenario”.

North Korea’s top US official, Sung Kim, is due to visit South Korea next week to discuss the international community’s response to North Korea’s recent missile tests.

North Korea has recently resumed its trademark harsh rhetoric against its rivals. One of its international affairs commentators called US President Joe Biden an “old man”, while Kim’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, called South Korea’s defense minister “a scumbag” and criticized South Korea for nuclear attacks. threatened to end. ,

“Kim Jong Un’s stated goal of deploying strategic nuclear weapons, Kim Yo Jong’s recent threats to Seoul and satellite imagery of tunnel activity in Punggye-ri point to an upcoming nuclear test,” said Leif-Eric Isley , said a professor of international studies. Eva Women’s University in Seoul. “Additional missile launches are also expected to honor the weapon delivery systems.”

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