North Korea holds military parade without ballistic missiles

People taking part in a concert at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on Saturday

People taking part in a concert at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on Saturday

This year's celebrations also marked the revival of North Korea's iconic mass games after a five-year hiatus.

Although North Korea stages military parades nearly every year, and held one just before the Olympics began in South Korea in February this year, Sunday's parade comes at a particularly sensitive time.

China has portrayed itself as a stable partner should the North step up efforts to pursue economic development.

A sea of spectators watched the parade as tens of thousands goose-stepping soldiers and columns of tanks drove past a review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took the salute.

There had been speculation that Chinese president Xi Jinping might make his first trip to Pyongyang for the parade, but in the end he sent Li Zhanzhu, the head of the National People's Congress and one of seven members of the Communist Party's Politburo standing committee.

Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with China's Li as he oversaw the festivities at Pyongyang's main Kim Il Sung square on a clear autumn day.

Senior statesman Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea's parliament, set the relatively softer tone for the event with an opening speech that emphasized the economic goals of the regime, not its nuclear might.

Following the display of military parade was a civilian procession, featuring large floats bearing ruling party slogans.

The parade was the first of its kind after the DPRK-South Korea and the DPRK-U.S. summits were held successively and the situation on the Korean Peninsula entered a state of dialogue.

For a long time, the U.S. and North Korea were at an apparent impasse, with the United States asking for a comprehensive list of North Korea's nuclear facilities, and Pyongyang demanding a formal end to the Korean War. Both sides are now insisting on a different starting point.

China's trade surplus with United States hit new record in August
At the same time, Apple is already using components sourced from USA manufacturers in some of its products. CEOs are losing sleep over all the unknowns being thrown into the mix .

"I am very curious to hear what is in the letter to Trump, because this parade could have been more provocative", Hanham said, adding satellite evidence showed North Korea continued missile-related activities such as testing solid fuel motors.

"All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation".

Fireworks explode during the Mass Games at May Day stadium marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018. "We will both prove everyone wrong!"

Since I and the ABC News crew have been here, we have been with a government guide at all times, and can only go where they choose to take us.

He revealed the new missile is expected to be dubbed the Unha-4. But the only ones on show were the blue Kumsong-3, an anti-ship cruise missile, and the Pongae-5 surface-to-air weapon.

In an over three hour long event held to mark the 70th anniversary of the DPRK's founding, the country notably opted not to display any intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). "They ended with these huge rockets coming down the street".

Either way, soon after the Sunday celebrations end, Kim will once again meet in Pyongyang with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss ways to break the impasse over his nuclear weapons.

As the country launches a "new era" of reconciliation and global engagement, Sunday's premiere in Pyongyang was the first Mass Games in five years and was a major part of a carefully choreographed weekend of events created to highlight Kim's diplomatic campaign and plans for economic development. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter United States aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living.

But given what we have seen in the past few days, the emphasis has been far more on economic development, science and technology, and modernization.

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