Xi lauds N.Korea’s headway

By Fan Lingzhi in Pyongyang and Shan Jie in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/9 21:03:39 Last Updated: 2018/9/10 9:11:43

Restrained military parade marks 70th anniversary

A large-scale parade is held in downtown Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves with Li Zhanshu (center), a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, on a balcony of the Grand People's House on Kim Il-sung Square following the parade and mass rally in Pyongyang on Sunday. Kim Yong-nam (left), president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, delivered a speech before the parade. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday sent a congratulatory message to Kim Jong-un, top leader of North Korea, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea, a move experts believed sends a strong signal that China highly values the bilateral relationship.

In his message, Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the people of North Korea have attained remarkable achievements in the cause of socialist revolution and construction over the past 70 years, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

North Korea on Sunday morning staged a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country in Kim Il-sung Square, in downtown Pyongyang.

Li Zhanshu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, attended the celebration as Xi's special representative.

Before the parade, Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, delivered a speech, looking back on the journey of the Korean Workers' Party leading North Korean people over the past 70 years. He did not mention ongoing conflict on the Korean Peninsula, or the development of nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong-un did not give a speech.

The parade, which started at 10 am and lasted for two hours, consisted of three parts: military march, float parade and mass march.

The North Korean side has not released the number of participants of the parade, but the Global Times correspondent found the scale among the largest in recent years.

After the parade, Kim Jong-un held and raised the hand of Li on the podium, waving to people, which capped off the celebration.

A source from North Korea told the Global Times that according to tradition, raising the held hand of a counterpart stands for "closest friendship," adding that North Korean top leaders holding a Chinese guest's hand has happened several times before.

On Friday, a reception celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea was held in Beijing. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attended the event.

"No matter how the international and regional situations change, the firm stance of the CPC and the Chinese government on consolidating and developing relations with North Korea remains unchanged, the Chinese people's friendship with North Korean people remains unchanged, and China's support for the socialist North Korea remains unchanged," Wang said.

"The barrier between China and North Korea, which is the nuclear issue, has been disappearing," said Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences. "China has played a significant role in maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula."

From top officials to the masses in China, all paid attention to the celebration of North Korea's founding day, which indicates that Chinese people value the China-North Korea friendship, Lü told the Global Times, adding that "North Korea focusing on its economy is meaningful for regional stability and peace."

Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday that Chinese senior officials' visiting North Korea and participating in the celebratory activities shows China highly values the bilateral relationship with North Korea.

The People's Daily on Sunday said in an editorial that China and North Korea have seen a continuation of the friendly traditions that the two countries celebrate with each other at key festivals, which shows that China is paying high attention to the bilateral relationship in the era of denuclearization.

Aircraft fly in formation to create a "70" in celebration of North Korea's 70th anniversary of the founding of the country during the military parade on Sunday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Subdued weaponry display

Anti-ship missiles and anti-aircraft missiles were shown in the military parade, but intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons that "might agitate the US and South Korea" were not in the queue, the Global Times reporter found.

"The celebration is more joyful than previous ones," said Lü, "especially compared with the last one in February [to celebrate the founding anniversary of the country's army], which had an atmosphere of showing off military power."

"It shows changes in North Korea after the country announced its shift in strategy to economic development," Lü said, noting that North Korea, which was isolated and closed off in the past decades, has been more confident in opening up, and is trying to embrace the international community.

blog comments powered by Disqus