North Korea’s founder’s birthday holiday celebrated without the usual military fanfare

Man waves to large crowd from balcony.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took part in a massive civilian parade in the capital celebrating a milestone birth anniversary of his state-founding grandfather, with thousands of people marching in a choreographed display of loyalty to the Kim family, according to state media. Did.

The reports did not mention any speeches or comments Mr Kim made during the event in Pyongyang on Friday. The country appears to have spent its biggest holiday without displaying 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 the capital, which could mark the anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military on April 25 and display the most advanced weapons in Mr. Kim’s nuclear arsenal. such as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

There are also hopes Pyongyang will step up 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 US. while it is busy with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rivalry with China.

State media images showed Mr Kim waving from a balcony overlooking Kim Il Sung Square, named after his grandfather, as a giant column of people carrying red plastic flowers, and Below float with political slogans.

dance party and fireworks

Hundreds of people dance together on the town square.
Students and youth attend a dance party at Kim Il Sung Square in the capital Pyongyang., Associated Press: Cha Song Ho,

Mr Kim appears 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.

Not much to celebrate in Sadhu State

This week’s celebrations to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth came as his grandson called on the United States to accept North Korea’s idea of ​​a nuclear power and lift crippling economic sanctions aimed at reviving nuclear power. Compelled to.

North Korea has opened 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 the North is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear test ground, weeks before Mr Kim’s first summit with then US President Donald Trump in June 2018.

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