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North Korea turns 70, celebrates with huge military parade

The parade, like each year, was large but missing conspicuously were Kim Jong-Un's intercontinental ballistic missiles. That was due to his June summit with US President Donald Trump.

Big army, but no ICBMs

Thousands of North Korean troops paraded through Pyongyang Sunday as the nuclear-armed country celebrated its 70th birthday, followed by artillery and tanks, but it refrained from displaying the intercontinental ballistic missiles that have seen it hit with sanctions.

North Korea-China bhai bhai

Instead, leader Kim Jong Un showed off his friendship with China, raising the hand of President Xi Jinping's envoy as they saluted the crowd together afterwards.

Song and dance show

Li Zhanshu, one of the seven members of the Chinese Communist party's Politburo Standing Committee, the country's most powerful body, sat next to him, the two of them occasionally exchanging comments. In photo: North Korea's 70th birthday celebrations began with a concert

Seventy years old

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as the North is officially known, was proclaimed on September 9, 1948, three years after Moscow and Washington divided the peninsula between them in the closing days of the Second World War.

Showing off

Such set-piece dates are a mainstay of the North's political calendar, particularly when round numbers are involved, and have long been occasions for showing off its latest hardware.

For god and country

But too militaristic a display might have risked upsetting the recent diplomatic dalliance on the peninsula, after Kim's Singapore meeting with US President Donald Trump in June and his third summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in due in Pyongyang later this month.

Woman power

After a 21-gun salute, dozens of infantry units marched through Kim Il Sung Square, some in night-vision goggles or wielding rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as the current leader -- the founder's grandson -- looked on from a rostrum.

Top guns

Armoured personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers and tanks followed, with biplanes flying overhead in a '70' formation. At one point jets trailing red, white and blue smoke -- the colours of the North Korean flag -- roared above the Juche Tower, the stone monument to Kim Il Sung's political philosophy.

All hail the Supreme Leader

In April, Kim declared that the North's development of nuclear weapons had been completed and 'socialist economic construction' would be the new strategic priority. In photo: Students march past a balcony from where Kim was watching.

By the people...

Immediately after the parade thousands of citizens walked through the square, escorting floats displaying economic themes and calls for Korean reunification.In warm sunshine the marchers waved bouquets and flags and chanted 'Long live' to the leader.