With no long-range missiles on display, North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday focused on conventional arms, peace and economic development, to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
Line upon line of goose-stepping soldiers and columns of tanks shook the ground before giving way to chanting crowds waving flags and flowers as they passed a review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sat with a special envoy from China, as well as other visiting foreigners.
Kim told the envoy, Chinese parliament chief Li Zhanshu, that North Korea was focusing on economic development and hopes to learn from China’s experience in this regard, Chinese state television reported.
‘North Korea upholds the consensus of the Singapore meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States and has taken steps for it and hopes the United States takes corresponding steps, to jointly promote the political resolution process for the peninsula issue,’ the report paraphrased Kim as saying.
Goose-stepping soldiers file past carrying the flags of their regiment in the center of the main parade ground in Pyongyang
Also present during the enormous parade were squadrons of Kim’s artillery pieces and tanks but none of the ICBM launchers seen in previous years
Participants wave flowers as they march past a balcony from where North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was watching, during the remarkable celebration
Short-range missile launchers were still on show and could be seen driving past, but there was no sign of the ICBMs of the past
Kim Jong-un himself watched the two-hour parade alonside Li Zhanshu, one Chinese President Xi Jinping’s closest advisers
The parade highlight themes of military accomplishment, national development, and international engagement at a time when doubts are arising over Kim’s commitment to abandoning nuclear weapons.
Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental missiles on display. And there were no nuclear tests to mark the holiday, as has happened in each of the last two years.
North Korea routinely uses major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and the latest developments in missile technology.
But that has lessened this year, underlining Kim’s stated aim for denuclearising the Korean peninsula and his recent meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and summits with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and Dalian.
The theme for the celebrations this year was economic development and unifying the Korean peninsula, divided since World War Two.
Kim and Li could be seen waving to the crowd as the parade started on Sunday morning in the center of the historic city of Pyongyang
Kim’s invitation of Li signals a continuation of North Korea’s attempts to draw down its nuclear programme and stabilise its economy through trade
Thousands of North Korea’s crack troops were pictured marching in perfect rank and file bearing rifles with attached bayonets
Goose-stepping soldiers march with their feet in the air as they file past the center point of the parade ground during the ceremony
Hypnotic lines of soldiers stood in a smorgasbord of different coloured uniforms as they gathered to celebrate the anniversary
The full range of North Korea’s military was on show in the parade on Sunday, with troops from the Navy joining their land-based counterparts
North Korean soldiers look towards the balcony where Kim Jong-un is sitting during the two-hour parade on Sunday afternoon
Soldiers from the armoured corps of the North Korean army responsible for driving tanks marched with their distinctive headgear
Camouflaged troops carrying high-spec assault rifles and wearing full combat gear were also on display during the parade
Tanks drive through the center of the city with formed up ranks of soldiers standing just to the side of the armoured vehicles
Kim’s female troops were snapped marching in their characteristic goose-step-esque style through the streets of Pyongyang on Sunday
Female soldiers from Kim’s crack regiment march in time during the two-hour parade on Sunday morning as they filed past their leader
Thousands of civilians followed the soldiers waving the North Korean the flag and crying in an emotion show of support for their leader
Brightly dressed women held colourful banners aloft in a remarkable display to celebrate the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding
Pictures of past leader Kim Jong-il were on show as packed stands full of high-ranking military officials applauded during the parade
A huge float was decorated with a modern train, solar panels, wind power plants and dams, under a slogan of ‘All our might to build economy!’, as North Korean men in construction work wear marched.
Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s titular head of state, gave a speech at the parade in which he said the country had achieved status as a military power, and would now pursue efforts to strengthen its economy.
Floats on unification also passed by a throng of North Koreans waving unified Korea flags.
‘All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation. Unification is the only way Koreans can survive,’ said an editorial in North Korea’s party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart Moon will meet in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20 for the third time this year and discuss ‘practical measures’ towards denuclearisation, officials in Seoul have said.
A group of generals stand watching the parade in front of a giant sign celebrating the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding
Students wave to a bus carrying foreign journalists after a parade marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding day
The parade was one of the largest ever witnessed in Pyongyang as thousands of troops and citizens took part in the two-hour show
Confetti and balloons were released intothe sky as civilians carrying North Korean flags marched in perfect order during the ceremony
Cohorts of happy-looking civilians also took to the streets for the parade waving mini flags and carrying balloons in support of their leader
Hundreds of women wearing blue and waving large red flags march past the gathered crowds on Sunday morning in the large display
Performers wearing the colours of the North Korean flag were also present and formed a huge patchwork effect with coloured banners
North Korean schoolchildren carrying placards emblazoned with slogans march in time while saluting Kim Jong-un in the crowd
As part of the celebrations, a concert was held on Saturday evening in front of an invited audience of several thousand people at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.
Featuring three of the state’s top musical ensembles – the State Merited Chorus army choir, the Samjiyon Orchestra and the Mansudae Art Troupe – a red grand piano took centre stage.
At such events in North Korea performers normally play in front of a giant screen displaying the country’s successes.
In recent years that has always included footage of the ballistic missile launches under leader Kim Jong-un that, along with Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, have earned the North multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions.
What IS Gerard Depardieu doing in North Korea? Controversial French actor is spotted in Pyongyang
Controversial French actor Gerard Depardieu has been spotted in North Korea during celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the socialist state.
Mr Depardieu, 69, was filmed by reporters in the lobby of a Pyongyang hotel on Friday but refused to talk to journalists.
North Korea celebrated its 70th founding anniversary today, September 9, and the Green Card star was one of the spectators seen in the crowd.
Participants cheered and waved flowers during the parade and military officers marched through Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.
It is not known whether Mr Depardieu was in the North Korean capital to take part in the festivities or as a guest
It is not known whether Mr Depardieu was in the North Korean capital to take part in the festivities or as a guest, reports the Telegraph.
Oliver Hotham, managing editor of NK News, was present at the Yangakdo hotel for tourists and tweeted about seeing Mr Depardieu.
He said the actor had: ‘refused to allow photos and one of his dudes said ‘you’ll have a bad time’ if I persisted in trying to get a quote from him’.
However Mr Depardieu, who became the face of French cinema thanks to roles in films such as Cyrano de Bergerac for which he won best actor at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for an Oscar, did allow a selfie to be taken at the airport.
The star posed with a member of a Turkish ‘friendship’ delegation at the airport.
In August, prosecutors in Paris opened a preliminary investigation of a woman’s rape and sexual assault accusations against the actor.
The events are alleged to have taken place at Mr Depardieu’s Parisian home, a sprawling mansion in the 6th arrondissement of the city, earlier this month.
French actor Gerard Depardieu (centre) has been seen at a military parade and mass rally on Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang, North Korea
The 69-year-old star denies the allegations ‘absolutely’, his lawyer told AFP news agency.
Depardieu has appeared in more than 200 films over six decades. He won a Golden Globe for his performance in ‘Green Card,’ a 1990 romantic comedy.
He made his name in the 1974 film ‘Going Places’ after which he enjoyed a meteoric rise and went on to act in wide-ranging roles in classics, dramas and comedies alike.
In 2013 Depardieu sparked a huge outcry by leaving France and taking Russian nationality in protest at a proposed tax hike on the rich in his homeland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin treated him to a dinner to present him with his new citizenship and Mr Depardieu was subsequently full of praise in an interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
The Green Card star caused controversy at the time for slamming his home country.
North Korea began celebrating the 70th anniversary of its official birth as a nation today with a huge concert, pictured, ahead of the main events tomorrow
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed on September 9, 1948. During the concert this evening, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was projected on to a screen as orchestra musicians performed
Although the military featured in the concert (pictured: military choir members), there was a notable absence of footage of ballistic missile launches
In recent years the events have always included footage of the ballistic missile launches under leader Kim Jong-un that, along with Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, have earned the North multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions
But in a dramatic turnaround on the peninsula triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South in February, the North is engaged on multiple diplomatic fronts, even as the US insists it give up its weapons.
After a June meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore and its third summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in due in Pyongyang later this month, the North is keen to send a different message to the past.
Instead of missiles, the imagery at Saturday’s concert highlighted North Korean landmarks, from its spiritual birthplace Mount Paektu to the Pyongyang skyline, and economic development, with shots of factories, steel plants, and abundant fields of wheat.
Instead of missiles, the imagery at Saturday’s concert highlighted North Korean landmarks, from its spiritual birthplace Mount Paektu to the Pyongyang skyline, and economic development, with shots of factories, steel plants, and abundant fields of wheat
Only a few short segments featured the military, with only conventional equipment on display. It seems the North is keen to send a different message to the past
Songs included ‘Socialism, I love you’, and the first-ever public performance of a new ode to Kim Jong-un, ‘Be loved, our father’. Pictured: audience members watch the concert
‘The Supreme Leader visits every family even at midnight and even at dawn,’ ran the lyrics. ‘He hears everything the ordinary people say…. We are confident in his powerful leadership, taking us to the future, Oh, Comrade Kim Jong-un.’ Pictured: students performing at the concert
Every time Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder Kim Il Sung, or his successors appeared on screen the audience broke into applause, with the loudest reserved for the current leader
Only a few short segments featured the military, with only conventional equipment on display.
And in one, when tanks rolled, jets flew and infantry marched, a message ran across the top of the screen: ‘Military strength ensures peace’.
Moments later the hardware was replaced with images of ripe red apples.
In April, leader Kim declared the North’s nuclear programme a success and said the country’s new strategic priority would be ‘socialist economic construction’.
Featuring three of the state’s top musical ensembles – the State Merited Chorus army choir, the Samjiyon Orchestra and the Mansudae Art Troupe – a red grand piano took centre stage
Pictured: North Korean military cadets clapping during the evening gala earlier this evening
Pictured: North Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers leave following the concert ahead of the country’s official birthday tomorrow
The anniversary is a major occasion in the North, and is being marked with a series of events expected to include a military parade and the return of the ‘Mass Games’ after a five-year absence
The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are intended to be a display of national unity. Pictured: students performing
Every time Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder Kim Il Sung, or his successors appeared on screen the audience broke into applause, with the loudest reserved for the current leader.
Songs included ‘Socialism, I love you’, and the first-ever public performance of a new ode to Kim Jong-un, ‘Be loved, our father’.
‘The Supreme Leader visits every family even at midnight and even at dawn,’ ran the lyrics. ‘He hears everything the ordinary people say…. We are confident in his powerful leadership, taking us to the future, Oh, Comrade Kim Jong-un.’
Earlier in the day officials attended a ceremony (pictured) ahead of the country’s official birthday tomorrow
Pictured: officials clapping during a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s foundation
Pictured: participants arrive in Pyongyang to take part in events over the weekend to commemorate the country’s 70th anniversary