North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un apologized for the difficult living conditions in the country during an unusual performance during a military night parade on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Labor Party. He was ashamed that he could not adequately repay the enormous trust of the population, said Kim, who at times seemed emotionally moved.
“My efforts and dedication were not enough to get our people out of their difficult living conditions,” he said on a video shown on state television. He blamed international sanctions, hurricanes and the coronavirus.
Kim announced that North Korea would expand its armed forces in self-defense and deterrence. This is the only way to control “all dangerous attempts and actions, including increasing nuclear threats from enemy forces.” However, Kim did not speak to the United States, which regularly accuses Pyongyang of hostile policies.
Kim said he hoped North and South Korea would join forces again once the corona crisis was over. In late September, North Korea had confirmed that it had killed a South Korean as part of its measures against the coronavirus. Kim had written to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the incident should not have happened.
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Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, delivered his speech on a podium in Kim Il Sung Square, which was brightly lit. It was midnight when he took the stage. The speech was repeatedly interrupted by cheers from the masses and applause. Some soldiers and civilians were crying. Nobody wore a mask to protect against the coronavirus. North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection.
At the subsequent military parade, the self-proclaimed nuclear power presented ballistic missiles from various distances. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a new ICBM was also being demonstrated. According to this, experts suspect that the missile could fly further than the North Korean Hwasong-15 missile, which has a range of more than 12,800 kilometers. However, it appears that the new missile cannot carry multiple warheads.
Big show at night: Military parade in Pjöngyang Photo: AFP / KCNA via KNS
Mass spectacle pays tribute to the ‘light of the workers’ party’
At a party rally in late 2019, Kim Jong Un threatened that the world would experience a “ new strategic weapon ” in his country in the near future. He also stated at the time that Pyongyang was no longer bound by its moratorium on testing for atomic bombs and ICBMs. The background to this is the faltering nuclear negotiations between the communist leaders and the US. The talks have not progressed since the failed summit between the two countries in Vietnam in February 2019.
Pyongyang often uses important holidays or days of remembrance to show military strength. The time of day for the gun show was considered unusual this time. First, the General Staff in South Korea announced that there were signs that a large military parade had taken place in Pyongyang in the early morning hours.
According to observers, the leadership apparently hoped that the nighttime mass spectacle would have a greater impact. “The decision to stick with this at the beginning of the evening makes sense, as Kim Jong Uns puts emotional emphasis on overcoming the odds,” North Korean expert Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter. This should suggest, “The light of the Labor Party will penetrate the darkness.” (Reuters, dpa)