North Korea paraded its military might through the capital of Pyongyang Sunday, with one very glaring exception.
Although the parade to mark its 70th anniversary featured thousands of soldiers, North Korea did not showcase its intercontinental ballistic missiles, unlike past parades — including one as recent as February — when it flouted its stock of weapons.
“Compared to past parades, they really pulled back on displaying missile systems,” said Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, CNN reported.
“By keeping ICBMs out, Kim Jong Un showed that he did not want to antagonize President Trump,” said Kim Yong Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, according to The New York Times.
“The composition of the parade appears to reflect Kim Jong Un’s focus on dialogue and economic development,” he said.
The absence of ICBMs in the North Korean military parade is an encouraging signal for Washington, which is urging Kim Jong-un to focus on dialogue https://t.co/B2W2XFJOnP
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) September 9, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with President Donald Trump in June, and both pledged to move toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Achieving that goal has not been quick, as the two sides have become enmeshed in talks over multiple issues that divide the U.S. and North Korea. Reports have continued to emerge from North Korea that weapons production has not ceased, even after the meeting between Kim and Trump.
On Sept. 18, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Kim in Pyongyang for a three-day summit. Moon said Friday that he will seek “irrevocable progress” toward denuclearization, according to USA Today.
Last week, a South Korean official said that despite the difficulties, Kim is committed to working with the United States. Chung Eun Yong, a top security adviser to Moon, said Kim’s faith in Trump was “unchanged.”
“This trust, despite some difficulties surfaced during the negotiation process between the U.S. and the North, will continue,” Chung said, according to CNN.
Trump responded to the comments with a tweet.
“Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump.’ Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!” Trump wrote.
Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
Trump said Friday that he expected Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be bringing him a letter from Kim, ABC reported.
“I know that a letter, a personal letter, is being delivered to me from Kim Jong Un that was handed at the border yesterday,” Trump said.
Trump said he expects a “positive letter.”
“Yesterday he (Kim) said I want to make this deal and denuclearize during President Trump’s administration, so let’s see what happens,” Trump said Friday. “But he did write me a letter and the letter’s being delivered to me, I think it’s being brought in by Mike Pompeo.”
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