North Korea stages military parade, holds back on advanced missiles

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Li stood at Kim's right during the parade, underlining the marked improvement in relations between the neighbors this year, with Kim traveling to China three times to meet Xi.

The officials said further analysis is needed to confirm what kinds of weapons - including intercontinental ballistic missiles - were displayed at the event.

For worldwide consumption at least, Kim Jong-un's flagship "Byungjin" policy line, which focused on joint development of the economy and strategic weapons, has been watered down, with the focus now shifting to economic progress and downplaying the arms.

With tensions once again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump a year ago, and led to a risky volley of insults from both leaders, could be seen as a deliberate provocation.

The circumstances might have prompted Kim to demonstrate a "different attitude" from the North's previous military parades, through which the country has stunned the world with advanced ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric, analysts say.

"(China) hopes North Korea and the United States will implement their common understanding (made) in their bilateral summit and keep to the good trend of peace and dialogue", the Chinese official said, adding that China wants to play a "constructive role" in resolving Korean Peninsula issues politically together with other concerned nations.

"Thank you To Chairman Kim", Trump said in a tweet.

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Mr Kim also referred to the June summit meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore, noting that he wants the US side to take action in proportion to North Korean efforts taken in accordance with their agreement in the summit.

The trove of comments from Kim included a renewed commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and to the suspension of all future long-range missile tests.

Scores of pro-North Korea "friendship organisations" and government delegations have been arriving in the North Korean capital during the past few days.

Participants perform Mass Games at May Day stadium marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018.

Earlier on Sunday, Kim presided over a parade that featured conventional military troops but left out any nuclear-capable weapons in favor of floats celebrating relations with South Korea, as well as Kim's new focus on the economy.

Tanks roll past during a parade for the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 9, 2018.

The North also refrained from immediately televising the event, though North Korean media were out in force to film it, deploying booms and - for possibly the first time - drones with cameras.

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The parade comes at a sensitive time in the region.

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.

At one point jets trailing red, white and blue smoke - the colors of the North Korean flag - roared above the Juche Tower, the stone monument to Kim Il Sung's political philosophy.

"The Chinese Party and government took seriously (our) friendly, cooperative relationship with North Korea". He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter U.S. aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living.

The North Korean leader pledged to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, following Washington's demands for a "final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea".

Tickets to this year's spectacle started at just over US$100 and went up to more than US$800 per seat.

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