Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Pyongyang, North Korea (4E) – Economic development protected by military power was the apparent theme of North Korea’s less than spectacular military parade celebrating the 70th year of the founding of the communist state
The impressive goose-stepping soldiers of the Korean People’s Army (the armed forces of North Korea), thousands of them, were again centers of attention. There were tanks, armored vehicles and artillery pieces. The parade showcased the north’s latest military technology.
But unlike all past military parades, there was not a single long-range or intercontinental ballistic missile that trundled its way down the Kim Il-sung Square in downtown Pyongyang. Neither were there any symbols nor mention of North Korea’s nuclear program.
What there was a lot of was propaganda about dictator Kim Jong-un’s vision for economic reform and economic growth in his impoverished country.
Strangely, Kim was on hand but didn’t address the masses. He reviewed the procession from a balcony alongside senior officials and foreign envoys, including Li Zhanshu, a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee who is number three in the Politburo, and Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the Federation Council, which is Russia’s upper house of parliament.
Kim Yong Nam, head of the Supreme People’s Assembly (North Korea’s parliament), delivered a speech focusing mostly on economic development, which is now being emphasized by Kim Jong-un. The North Korean dictator has accelerated economic reforms since coming to power in 2011 and appears dead set on developing his country’s moribund economy.
In April, he announced North Korea will end its policy of dual-track development of both nuclear weapons and economic growth. The country will instead “focus all of its energy on building a socialist economy.”
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