North Korea Holds Military Parade in Honor of Worker’s Party 70th Anniversary

Michael Song, Oct. 12, 2015, 10:34 a.m.

North Korea marked the Workers Party's 70th anniversary on Saturday with a massive military parade and a rare 25 minute speech by leader Kim Jong-un. Speaking from the stands as thousands lined the vast square below, Kim boasted he is ready to wage "any kind of war" with the U.S. 

But most of the speech was devoted to the welfare of the "people," a word he used no fewer than 95 times, suggesting that the country's economic difficulties have taken precedence over military grandstanding. Kim did not mention the country's nuclear weapons but instead used terminology like "defense-economic policies," perhaps mindful of significant opposition from vital ally China to the North's nuclear weapons development. 

Liu Yunshan, a ranking member of the Chinese Politburo’s Standing Committee, stood close by. In a meeting with Kim the previous day, Liu called for a "continuation of traditional friendship," an expression Beijing has avoided using for a while, hinting at the possibility of improved relations.

But thousands of young people in the square formed the words "nuclear state" and "nuclear-economic policies" in the square after the military parade. 

During the parade, the North showcased new weapons such as a KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 12,000 km, which is probably capable of reaching the western part of the U.S. mainland, and 300-mm multiple rocket launchers that could strike the Gyeryongdae military complex in South Korea's South Chungcheong Province.

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