‘No ballistic missiles’ at N Korea parade

Written By: BBC
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North Korea did not display any intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at a military parade to mark its 70th anniversary, reports say.

It is also unclear whether leader Kim Jong-un made a speech at the event.

The parade is being scrutinised for clues about North Korea’s weapons arsenal and professed commitment to denuclearisation.

Some analysts had predicted that Mr Kim would tone down the display after his summit with US President Donald Trump.

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A large display of ICBMs – which can reach the US mainland, potentially carrying a nuclear warhead – would have been seen as provocative.

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No footage of the parade has been released but news agency AFP, which had a reporter at the scene, and NK News, which had pictures from North Korean state TV, said no ICBMs had been seen.

In June Mr Kim and Mr Trump signed a vague agreement to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula but it did not include a timeline, details or mechanisms to verify the process.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (centre R) waves with China's Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu
Kim Jong-un (c) appeared alongside visiting Chinese politican Li Zhanshu: AFP/GETTY

High-level talks and visits have continued but the most recent scheduled trip by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was called off last minute and both sides have blamed each other for the stalling negotiations while insisting they’re committed to the progress.

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The BBC’s Seoul Correspondent Laura Bicker said any show of ICBMs could have put future discussions and any deal to declare an end to the Korean war at risk.

North Korea was also due to hold its first mass games in five years. The Arirang Mass Games are an elaborate propaganda spectacle with enormous co-ordinated displays.

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This year’s games, which tell a symbolic story of North Korea’s history, are titled The Glorious Country.

Analysis of satellite images from the past two weeks suggest this year’s games, which will continue throughout September, are going to be very big.

Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers salute as they watch a mass rallyImage copyright AFP/GETTY
Aircrafts perform a fly-by during a mass rally
Jets drew out the number 70 in the sky, to mark the country’s 70th anniversary: AFP/GETTY

Past games have featured gigantic stadiums filled with performers, synchronised gymnasts and co-ordinated dance displays.

The colourful displays are likely to be striking but the UN has in the past said that children are forced to take part, or to help in the build-up.

Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers march during a mass rally
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