NewsWorldNorth Korea holds a military parade at midnight

North Korea holds a military parade at midnight

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Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – North Korea held a midnight military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday to mark the 73rd anniversary of its founding, the country’s state media reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared on a platform in Kim Il Sung Square and greeted the crowd, but there was no mention of him giving a speech, according to Rodong Sinmun.

North Korean experts noted that Kim’s footage appeared to show that the North Korean leader had lost weight, adding support for a June state media report that he had lost weight.

“It’s amazing how healthy Kim Jong Un looks in these photos yesterday,” tweeted Martyn Williams, a member who works at Project 38 North at the Stimson Center. “He’s doing it though, and there are theories, it looks a lot better than a few months ago.”

State media reports did not mention Kim Jong Un’s sister and senior official Kim Yo Jong.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a military parade in Pyongyang in this undated image provided by North Korea’s Central News Agency on September 9, 2021.

During the parade, planes flew over Pyongyang firing flares and paratroopers fell from the planes into the night sky, Rodong Sinmun said.

On the street, marching bands led a parade, which included workers, research units and an “emergency disease prevention unit,” he added.

The notoriously lonely country cut nearly all of its ties to the outside world in 2020 to prevent an influx of coronavirus cases. And to date, it seems to have worked.

North Korea has not reported a major covid-19 outbreak, and there have been no indications that one has occurred, although experts doubt Pyongyang’s claim that the country has not seen a single case of the virus.

Most, if not all, foreign diplomats and humanitarian workers have fled the country, citing a shortage of goods and extreme restrictions in daily life.

In June, Kim fired several senior officials who failed to enforce North Korea’s strict covid-19 prevention, state news agency KCNA reported. It appears that some high-ranking members of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party have been replaced, KCNA said.

Kim Jong Un attends a military parade held to mark the 73rd anniversary of the founding of North Korea.

Soldiers and tractors, but not missiles

The first photos from Thursday’s parade showed nothing of North Korea’s missile arsenal. New or updated versions of the country’s missiles are often displayed at military parades.

During a parade in January, the North Korean armed forces unveiled what analysts said was a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

Last October, North Korea unveiled what analysts believe is one of the world’s largest ballistic missiles at a military parade.

But the weaponry displayed in images from the square early Thursday was of the smallest battlefield type, or as mundane as tractors, as well as legions of soldiers.

“The members of the parade that passed through the streets of the capital responded with enthusiasm with the firm commitment to promote the strengthening of combat capabilities and defend the rear of the socialist homeland as firm as a stone,” reads the report of KCNA.

Ri Il Hwan, a member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the North Korean Workers’ Party, delivered a speech at the parade, according to KCNA, saying that North Korea “will increase the People’s Army, a pillar in the defense of the State and will increase its defense industries to turn the entire country into a fortress. “

CNN’s Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.

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