Photo/IllutrationSoldiers of the North Korean People’s Army march to celebrate the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Sept. 9. (Kenji Minemura)

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  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

PYONGYANG--In not showcasing its long-range missiles at a military parade on Sept. 9, North Korea likely sent a message to the United States that it was conscious of continuing talks toward denuclearization.

The other message it delivered from the pomp and pageantry at Kim Il Sung Square was its emphasis on economic development.

For the 70th anniversary of its founding, The Asahi Shimbun, along with about 150 media representatives including CNN, China Central Television (CCTV) and other Japanese media outlets, received permission from North Korean authorities to cover the celebration.

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which often appeared in the previous military parades, was not displayed on this occasion. In addition, Kim did not give a speech and state-run Korean Central Television did not broadcast the parade live, as in the past.

The military parade, the seventh under Kim's leadership, was the first since Feb. 8, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean military.

In the February parade, an ICBM Hwasong-15 with a range of more than 13,000 kilometers and the ability to reach the U.S. East Coast was included.

“We declare our presence as an international military power,” Kim said in his speech.

For the parade this time, the military pageantry was shortened and North Korean citizens stepped into the spotlight with a longer parade. The citizens marched holding slogans focusing on economic development and their ethnic identity.

In the military part of the parade, an ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) didn’t participate. Soldiers carrying their weapons, military vehicles, multiple-launch rockets and surface-to-air missiles were included in the procession.

“The number and variety of weapons displayed were less than usual, while we showed a focus on interceptor missiles,” North Korean authorities said.

At 9:40 a.m., soldiers of the North Korean People’s Army entered Kim Il Sung Square, where slogans to celebrate the anniversary were displayed, while marching in unison with their feet high and calling out at the same time.

After the venue became silent, a loud volume of music started. Kim then appeared on stage with Li Zhanshu, China’s ruling Communist Party’s third-ranking official and head of China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which elicited huge cries of delight from the audience.

When the military parade began, Kim watched it while saluting. The North Korean leader also bent down and chatted with Li, who was seated next to him.

Kim Yo Jong, Kim’s younger sister, sometimes passed a message to her brother from the back.

After the one-and-a-half-hour parade ended, Kim appeared before the audience along with Li, holding the Chinese envoy's hand and raising them together to appeal for a friendly relationship between their respective nations.

A record audience of an estimated 12,000 people, including about 1,000 visitors from other countries, attended the anniversary event, according to North Korean authorities.

“I want to actively celebrate the anniversary as it is a pivotal year for our country,” said a 56-year-old man, a factory manager in Pyongyang.

On the night of Sept. 8, an anniversary music event was held in Pyongyang. Even during this program, video footage emphasizing the development and achievement of North Korea as a nuclear power and its missiles were not shown.

(This article was written by Kenji Minemura from Pyongyang and Yoshihiro Makino from Seoul.)