Kim Jong Un supervises over military parade to mark army founding

Updated 2018-02-09 11:15:07 Xinhua

Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Thursday supervised over a grand military parade displaying the country's most powerful weapons, including the Hwasong 15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), state television reported.

During the 90-minute parade in freezing weather, Kim delivered a speech, calling on the DPRK armed forces, the Korean People's Army (KPA), to safeguard peace on the Korean Peninsula while criticizing the United States for "sabotaging" regional and world peace.

Commending the KPA for its fighting records over the past 70 years, Kim urged the soldiers to maintain the revolutionary tradition set by former DPRK leaders.

Kim watched and cheered KPA officers and soldiers from 50 units, including missile forces, army, air force, navy, special operation force, artillery force and armored forces.

The parade also recalled the history of the KPA, with 10 units holding flags of the early divisions established after the founding of the DPRK in 1948.

This is the second time in 10 months that the DPRK has held a military parade amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The DPRK changed the official date for celebrating the founding of its armed forces from April 25 to Feb. 8 to emphasize the role played by DPRK founder Kim Il Sung in building up the KPA into a regular armed force from a guerrilla force in 1948.

The parade also drew wide attention because it took place one day before the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

But the DPRK said the timing was purely a coincidence and denied allegations of "provocation" by some South Korean conservative media and politicians.

Pyongyang is sending a high-level delegation to the Games' opening ceremony Friday and hundreds of DPRK athletes, artists, cheerleaders and traditional sports demonstrators will participate in the competition.

A scheduled joint entry by the two teams of the DPRK and South Korea holding a flag of national reunification is meant to highlight the wish of both sides to realize reconciliation and reunification.

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