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N Korea celebrates founding of DPRK

09 September 2013, 19:04

Seoul - North Korea held its second mass parade in little more than a month on Monday, with leader Kim Jong-Un presiding over a display of goose-stepping paramilitary troops, marching bands and flower-waving civilians.

Leading the parade was the Worker-Peasant Red Guard - a civilian militia with an estimated strength of more than three million active members.

At the start of the ceremony, tens of thousands of guards gathered in tight formation in Pyongyang's Kim Il-Sung square, with hundreds of thousands more civilians in the background carrying brightly coloured flowers in the pattern of a giant national flag.

Kim's arrival on the viewing platform with senior party and military officials was greeted with the usual thunderous applause and cries of "Mansei" ("Long Live").

It was the second big parade in little more than a month, but unlike July 27 - the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War - there was relatively little military hardware on display, with no drive-by of tank units or long-range missiles.

A few rocket launchers were included among the goose-stepping formations of militia men and women, but otherwise the event was dominated by wave after wave of patriotic floats, giant portraits of the leadership and flag- and flower-waving civilians.

Speeches from the podium were more celebratory than aggressive, while still stressing the need to retain a "tight war posture, safeguard the leadership and remain loyal to Kim Jong-Un".

"Our republic will flourish under the great and glorious leadership of comrade Kim Jong-Un," Prime Minister Pak Pong-Ju said.

Kim himself did not speak.

Pyongyang celebrates 9 September 1948 as the founding day of the DPRK, or Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The parade came amid an easing of tensions between North and South Korea who were on a virtual war-footing just a few months ago following the North's third nuclear test in February.

On Friday, the North reconnected a military hotline to the South that was cut at the height of the tensions earlier this year.



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