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DPRK 70 years

DPRK Displays Military Might

11 October 2015

There was no rocket test but the DPRK Workers Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power on 10 October with a remarkable display of military might during a two-hour parade in Pyongyang.

 

There were no Western or regional leaders in attendance but China sent Lui Yunshan, a senior Politburo member. It is likely that China only agreed to send such a high-level representative if the DPRK agreed not to use the occasion for another missile test. Lui brought a letter from President Xi, who has yet to meet Kim Jong Un, underlining China’s desire for stable relations (code for China’s displeasure at the DPRK’s nuclear programme).

 

Last month, the DPRK announced it was restarting its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon and that it was improving its nuclear weapons "in quality and quantity". There were fears that the anniversary would be marked by a missile test that would inevitably have produced international condemnation.

 

In his speech, Kim Jong Un made predictable references to the glorious role of the party in developing and protecting the country from foreign forces, notably the US imperialists. He said that the DPRK military was ready, willing and able to defeat any foreign army.

 

Foreign observers said that the parade was akin to a meeting of a cult with North Korean citizens jumping up and down and waving ecstatically at Kim Jong Un. The young leader of the DPRK has yet to make a trip outside of North Korea which some observers say may reflect insecurity surrounding his own position.