North Korea uses 70th anniversary to push economy, not nukes

North Korea uses 70th anniversary to push economy, not nukes

We were in the massive square named after Kim's grandfather, the country's founding leader.

With Xi officially out, no major world leaders were expected to join in, though delegations from countries such as Syria, Vietnam and nations across Africa that have friendly relations with the North sent high-level delegations.

Mass games performed by tens of thousands of people working in precise unison take months if not years of intense preparation and training, and have not been staged since 2013. 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.

At a concert on Saturday evening that kicked off the celebrations, the imagery on display focused heavily on the economy, with only a few short military segments, none of them showing missiles. Trump tweeted. "There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other!"

Instead leader Kim Jong Un showed off his friendship with China, raising the hand of President Xi Jinping's envoy as they saluted the crowd together afterwards.

Kim met U.S. President Donald Trump in June and agreed to "work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", but negotiations appear to have stalled since then, with both sides increasingly critical of each other over a lack of progress.

Before this year, the "blood-forged" alliance between Korean War allies China and North Korea had been looking shaky.

This year's celebration, however, did not feature the isolated nation's most advanced missiles.

"That choice alone suggests Kim's intention to underline the seriousness of his "New Strategic Line, ' announced earlier this year that privileges the country's economic betterment after the 'completion" of the country's nuclear deterrent last year", said Ankit Panda, a strategic expert and adjunct senior fellow in the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on display.

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

"Apparently Kim Jong Un thought that now was not time to unnecessarily provoke Trump", said Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.

I've seen many military parades around the world, but nothing that rivals the spectacle of Sunday's parade in Pyongyang.

Moon, who has stated his intention of acting as an intermediary between Trump and Kim, will meet the latter in Pyongyang over September 18-20 for what will be their third summit, with the goal being to set out the details of the deep-frozen denuclearization process. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter US aggression and devote his resources to raising his nation's standard of living.

The mass games, dubbed "Shining Fatherland", featured everything from a display of drones flying in formation to fireworks, lasers, circus-style performances and at one point hundreds of martial artists doing taekwondo.

The U.S.'s newly appointed special representative for North Korea, former Ford Motor Co. executive Steve Biegun, was due to arrive in the region Monday. Ticket sales to tourists from China and Europe are reportedly brisk despite prices that start at 100 euros and go all the way up to 800 euros for VIP seating.

Talmadge is the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief.