Kim Jong Un claimed his country was coronavirus free and wished "good health" to all people around the world who "fight the evils of the nasty virus" when he held a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the North Korean government Party this morning.
"I wish good health to all people around the world fighting the evils of the nasty virus," said Kim, whose counterpart US President Donald Trump was recently hospitalized with the virus, in a speech made in state media was broadcast.
The video showed Kim showing up when a clock struck midnight. In a gray suit and tie, he waved to the crowd and accepted flowers from children while surrounded by military officials with rows of medals.
Kim was sometimes emotional, thanking the military for working hard to respond to natural disasters and prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
North Korea has not reported any domestic infections, a claim that South Korea and the United States have questioned.
In this frame from a video broadcast this morning by North Korean KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a ceremony to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country's ruling party in Pyongyang
Kim Jong Un kisses a child as they walk in to deliver a speech for the 75th Anniversary March of the Democratic Labor Party
This image from a video broadcast by North Korean KRT shows a military parade with a possible new ICBM in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Crowds of North Koreans cheer as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks in to deliver a speech marking the ruling party's 75th anniversary
A screenshot from a KCNA broadcast on October 10, 2020 shows the North Korean Hwasong-15 ICBM during a military parade today
A screenshot from a KCNA broadcast on October 10, 2020 shows North Korean tanks during a military parade today
Infantrymen stand next to an armored vehicle to mark the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, which is believed to have taken place at noon this morning
Kim hopes North and South Korea will go hand in hand again after the coronavirus crisis ends.
While masks were shown to attendees at other holiday events, no one appeared to be wearing masks at the parade.
During the commemoration, the country displayed a gigantic new ICBM, which analysts have called the largest of its kind in the world.
The ICBM, carried by a transporter erector rocket with no fewer than 11 axes, rolled across Kim Il Sung's square as Leader Kim Jong Un watched from a podium, as recorded by the state broadcaster KCTV.
It was "the largest liquid-fueled street-mobile missile ever," tweeted Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists.
Pyongyang-Washington nuclear negotiations have been stalled since the collapse of the Hanoi Summit early last year, and it is widely believed that the North has continued to develop its arsenal throughout the diplomatic process.
Missiles with a range were launched from anywhere in the continental United States as early as 2017. However, analysts suggested that the new weapon could have multiple re-entry vehicles to evade US defense systems.
The missile could see its first test around the time the US President's next term is inaugurated, as a signal to Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
A senior US government official described North Korea's display of a previously invisible ICBM as "disappointing" and called on the government to begin negotiations on full denuclearization.
"It is disappointing to see that the DPRK continues to prioritize its banned nuclear and ballistic missile program over a better future for the North Korean people," the official said.
"The United States … is calling on the DPRK to conduct sustained and substantial negotiations to achieve full denuclearization."
The ICBM was previously preceded by the Pukguksong-4a, a new submarine-fired missile that would add another dimension to Pyongyang's arsenal aimed at preventing a US invasion.
Kim – in a gray suit – told the crowd that Pyongyang would "further strengthen our military for self-defense and deterrence".
"If you don't have the strength, you'll have to wipe away the tears and blood that flow with your two clenched fists," he added.
Women in the crowd wiped tears from their eyes as they spoke, the footage showed.
The eagerly awaited exhibition is part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party of the North.
The state broadcaster KCTV showed squadrons by squadrons of armed soldiers and armored vehicles lined up in the streets of Pyongyang ready to march across Kim Il Sung Square at night.
None of the participants or the audience in the stands wore masks, but there were far fewer citizens than usual in the square itself.
The program began with a picture of a commemorative propaganda poster showing three North Koreans holding up symbols of hammer, sickle and brush and the slogan: "The greatest glory to our great party."
North Korean military parades usually culminate with the missiles Pyongyang seeks to highlight and are closely watched by observers for clues as to its weapons development.
A screenshot from a KCNA broadcast today shows North Korean Hwasong-12 ICBMs during a military parade
Generals salute the Supreme Leader as they drive in armored vehicles to mark the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, which is said to have taken place at noon this morning
The armed forces are gathering in Pyongyang for the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea, believed to have taken place at noon this morning
Generals salute the Supreme Leader as they ride in armored vehicles on the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, which is said to have taken place at noon this morning
According to Seoul's joint chiefs of staff, the exhibition actually took place in the early hours of Saturday morning when they said in a statement that signs of a military parade were discovered in Kim Il Sung Square, involving equipment and people on a large scale & # 39 ;.
South Korean and US intelligence agencies were closely monitoring the event, they added.
The ruling party's anniversary comes in a difficult year for North Korea as the coronavirus pandemic and recent storms put pressure on the heavily sanctioned country.
Pyongyang closed its borders eight months ago to protect itself from the virus, which first appeared in neighboring China and has not yet confirmed a single case.
Last month, troops from the north shot and killed a South Korean fisheries official who appeared to have been driven into its waters as a precaution against the disease, sparking anger in Seoul and a rare apology from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A military parade is taking place in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image from a video broadcast by North Korean KRT on Saturday, October 10, 2020. North Korea held a massive military parade and public rally to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country's ruling party
North Korea held a massive military parade and public rally to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country's ruling party
It is widely believed that the North continued to develop its arsenal – which it must protect from a US invasion – during the nuclear negotiations with Washington, which have stalled since the collapse of a summit in Hanoi earlier last year.
Analysts expected a new ballistic missile (SLBM) or ICBM that can reach the US mainland could emerge – perhaps even one with multiple re-entry vehicles that could allow US defense systems to evade.
The Labor Party anniversary means that North Korea "has a political and strategic need to do something bigger," said Sung-yoon Lee, professor of Korean studies at Tufts University in the United States.
The showcase of its most advanced weapons "will mark a great advance in Pyongyang's credible threat capabilities," he said.
But unlike on many previous occasions, international media were banned from watching the parade, and with many foreign embassies in Pyongyang closing their doors amid coronavirus restrictions, few outside observers stayed in the city.
People bow before the statues of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill as the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang today
A screenshot from a KCNA broadcast today shows a general overview of a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Korean Labor Party
A screenshot from a KCNA broadcast today shows North Korean Hwasong-12 ICBMs during a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the Korean Workers' Party in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Foreigners were not welcome at the anniversary celebrations, according to the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, which posted a message from the authorities on its Facebook page urging diplomats and other international officials not to approach the venues or to take photos of them.
In late December, Kim threatened to demonstrate a "new strategic weapon," but analysts say Pyongyang will continue to act cautiously so as not to jeopardize its chances with Washington ahead of next month's presidential election.
Showing off its strategic weapons in a military parade "would be in line with what Kim Jong Un promised," said analyst Lee, while "the United States is not provoked as much as a test launch of a strategic weapon."
However, Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest warned that if "extreme precautions" were not taken, thousands of people could turn into a "deadly superspreader-like event".
The impoverished nation's collapsing health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak, and he added that such protective measures are "quite unlikely".
"Masks and missiles clearly don't mix," he said.
KIM JONG'S LETTERS TO COMPLETE TRUMPING
DECEMBER 25, 2018: Letter from Kim Jong Un to President Trump
It has been 200 days since the historic summit between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States in Singapore last June and the year is now drawing to a close. Even now, I cannot forget that moment in history as I held Your Excellency's hand in this beautiful and sacred place as the whole world watched with great interest and hope to relive the honor of that day. As I mentioned at the time, I am very honored to have developed an excellent relationship with a person like Your Excellency.
As the New Year 2019 approaches, critical issues still await us that will require endless efforts toward even higher ideals and goals. As Your Excellency has frankly said, at the beginning of the New Year the whole world will surely see another historic meeting between me and Your Excellency, reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film.
I have already directed my closest and most trusted colleagues and the relevant bodies to expedite preparations for the holding of a second summit between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States and I am ready to achieve good results at the next meeting with Your Excellency.
What worries me, however, is that we may not have any positive effects if both sides persist in our respective positions on the location of the summit. This could also result in a lot of time being wasted. Therefore, it is my position to urgently maintain high-level contact between the DPRK and the US to internally (translator's note: private) discuss and coordinate location issues.
I hope that at the second DPRK Summit, Your Excellency will again show great determination and excellent leadership to achieve results. I wholeheartedly hope that the things that Your Excellency wishes to achieve will bear great fruits.
I wish the honorable First Lady, your family, and those close to you health, happiness, and great success.
Sincerely, with unchanging respect for Your Excellency the President,
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Kim Jong Un
December 25, 2018
June 10, 2019: Letter from Kim Jong Un to President Trump
Your Excellency Mr. President,
I am writing this letter to you as we approach the first anniversary of our meeting in Singapore on June 12th – the historic moment of great significance that caught the world's attention and left an indelible mark on my memory to give you To congratulate your birthday which is only days away. It is a great honor for me to be able to send such a letter to Your Excellency.
I greet Your Excellency sincerely and warmly on the occasion of your birthday. My greetings also to the First Lady and the rest of your family and all of your people and I wish everyone good health and happiness and hope that every dream becomes a beautiful reality.
Like the brief time we had together in Singapore a year ago, every minute we shared 103 days ago in Hanoi was a moment of fame that remains a precious memory. Such a precious memory, which I have in my unshakable respect for you, will inspire me to take my steps when we meet again one day.
I also believe that the deep and special friendship between us will act as a magical force in advancing relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States and removing any obstacles we face in bringing about the desired developments.
Your Excellency, Mr. President! I respect and still hope for the will and determination you showed at our first meeting to solve the problem of our unique style that no one had tried before and to write a new story. The reality today is that without a fresh approach and the courage it takes, the prospects for solving the problem will only be bleak.
I believe that one day will come sooner or later when we sit down to make great things come true, willing to give our mutual trust another chance. Such a day should come again. It can easily be recorded as yet another fantastic moment in history.
I assure Your Excellency that my respect for you will never change.
Happy birthday again, Your Excellency. I hope Your Excellency will always be in good health and succeed in your work. I send my best wishes on behalf of my family to the First Lady and the rest of your family.
Kim Jong Un
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