Peace overture? No ballistic missiles seen in North Korea’s 70th anniversary parade

People taking part in a concert at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on Saturday

People taking part in a concert at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on Saturday

Li Zhanshu, sent by President Xi Jinping to attend North Korea's 70th anniversary parade on Sunday, said China was committed to the goal of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the Xinhua news agency said.

The North displayed its latest missiles in the February parade, however, and Washington hardly batted an eye. That parade featured ICBM's believed capable of reaching the United States and a speech from Kim declaring North Korea a "world-class military power".

The message from the group, that directs its propaganda mainly at the South, included a condemnation of the United States for the "most barbaric massacre" during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Japan's Abe is set to meet Putin on Monday evening to discuss "boosting economic cooperation and commercial exchanges" but also to "exchange views on the situation on the Korean peninsula", said Russian presidential adviser Yuri Ushakov.

Mr Xi also reaffirmed China's commitment to reinforcing relations with North Korea.

A North Korea "civic group" has disclosed a statement urging the withdrawal of US forces from the peninsula. Trump tweeted. "There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other!"

And tens of thousands of civilians in the parade marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding as well.

Yet despite the impressive hardware and manpower that was rolled out, the brilliantly synchronized event seemed more about diplomacy than firepower - and earned the plaudits of none other than US President Donald Trump.

Floats on unification passed by a throng of North Koreans waving unified Korea flags.

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"All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation. Unification is the only way Koreans can survive", read a Sunday editorial in communist-party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

North Korea holds military parades nearly every year and held one just before the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

A senior Russian official who met Kim Jong Un this weekend cited the North Korean leader as saying he did not plan any unilateral steps to denuclearize and was instead awaiting a USA response to steps he already took, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Washington wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program while Kim wants security concessions and a formal agreement ending the Korean War.

This parade, by contrast, ended with a "social presentation", he said. "Although trying to take the spotlight off of their nuclear program might mean that they're confident that their nuclear capabilities are fulfilling their objective of getting R.O.K./ the table".

On the Korean Peninsula issue, Li said that achieving lasting peace and denuclearization of the Peninsula accords with the trend of the times and the aspiration of the people. An end-of-war declaration would only be a first step toward an eventual peace treaty, but many in Washington fear such a declaration could be used to undermine the legitimacy of the US troop presence in South Korea.

To commemorate the national event, Kim paid a rare visit to a memorial site in Pyongyang where the bodies of his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung are buried, according to Pyongyang's state-run media.

Kim expressed his appreciation for Xi's letter and asked Li to convey greetings and best wishes to Xi.

According to Xinhua news agency, Mr Li said that no matter how the worldwide and regional situation changes, China's firm commitment to the consolidation and development of bilateral ties will not change.

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