The event was held at midnight. Unlike other years, no ballistic missiles paraded, but a group of people in protective suits: perhaps the Covid-19 special force. Kim Jong-un did not address the nation, but appeared healthy.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A military parade was held in North Korea to mark the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the communist state. "As the welcoming music was performed at midnight on Thursday, Comrade Kim Jong-un walked up to a podium," state-run Kcna news agency reported. Photos released by government media show the Western-dressed North Korean leader greeting marching soldiers. Analysts say he appeared slimmed down and healthy.
Unlike past years, no ballistic missiles appeared. Along with the uniformed troops and military vehicles also marched a body of people in red protective suits (photo). This could be the special force created to counter the spread of Covid-19. State TV has not yet broadcast footage of the parade.
Ri Il-hwan, a secretary of the Workers' Party, addressed the audience instead of Kim. Photos show that those in attendance were not wearing masks.
"The government of the republic will firmly defend the dignity and the fundamental interests of our people and solve everything our own way with our own efforts on the principle of self-reliance and self-development under any circumstances," Ri was quoted as saying by the KCNA.
"We will increase the People's Army, a pillar in defending the state, in every way, put the defense industry on a higher juche and modernized basis and keep spurring the struggle for carrying out the Party's policy on putting all the people under arms and turning the whole country into a fortress to ceaselessly improve the defense capability of the country," he added.
The last time North Korea held a military parade, an intercontinental ballistic missile (Icbm) and a submarine-launched ballistic missile (Slbm) had also appeared. Although the North Korean regime has not reported any cases of Covid-19 it has imposed strict border controls and movement restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to the health crisis and the resulting decline in trade, North Korea is struggling with a rapidly deteriorating economy. Denuclearization negotiations with the United States have also stalled.