North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday focused on conventional arms, peace and economic development as it marked the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding – and most important, it left out its infamous long-range missiles, CNBC informed.
President Donald Trump hailed the move as a “big and very positive statement from North Korea.”
“Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office,” Trump tweeted.
In Pyongyang, line upon line of soldiers and columns of tanks shook the ground before giving way to chanting crowds waving flags and flowers as they passed a review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sat with a special envoy from China, as well as other visiting foreigners, CNBC adds.
Kim told the envoy, Chinese parliament chief Li Zhanshu, that North Korea was focusing on economic development and hopes to learn from China’s experience in this regard, Chinese state television reported.
“North Korea upholds the consensus of the Singapore meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States and has taken steps for it and hopes the United States takes corresponding steps, to jointly promote the political resolution process for the peninsula issue,” the report paraphrased Kim as saying.
Zhanshu, sent by President Xi Jinping to attend the anniversary parade, said China was committed to the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Xinhua news agency said.
“We have high regards of the efforts the DPRK has made towards regional peace and stability,” Li was quoted as saying, Channel News Asia added.
Xinhua said Li also conveyed his hope that North Korea and the United States could implement the outcome of the June summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore and work to preserve peaceful talks.
However, according to NBC News, newest intelligence shows Kim’s regime has escalated efforts to conceal its nuclear activity, according to three senior U.S. officials. During the three months since the historic Singapore summit and Trump’s proclamation that North Korea intends to denuclearize, North Korea has built structures to obscure the entrance to at least one warhead storage facility, according to the officials.
The U.S. has also observed North Korean workers moving warheads out of the facility, the officials said, though they would not speculate on where the warheads went. One former senior U.S. official said North Korea frequently moves equipment around to hinder foreign intelligence gathering. “They’re trying to move them around so our sensors are confused,” the official said.
U.S. intelligence assesses North Korea could produce five to eight new nuclear weapons in 2018 – a pace that is virtually identical to their assessment of the regime’s production of about six per year prior to the Trump-Kim summit.