Sunday's date September 9th marked exactly 70 years from the day when North Korea was founded. Though it's formal name is The Democratic People's Republic of Korea it is a communist state controlled by one central party. It's also a military state who's young men and women are required to serve in the armed forces for several years starting at age 17.
North Korea has spent tremendous amounts of it's money on defense though it's industrial and power sectors have struggled and it's people have suffered through widespread shortages of food. The nation celebrated it's history yesterday with a military parade. It was it's first show of military strength since North Korean Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump made history with a face to face meeting in June. But the journalists invited to attend yesterday's event noticed a couple major differences between it and the parades that the country has held in the past and those changes may be related to that summer meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea's military parade to celebrate it's 70th founding anniversary left no doubt that this is still a military state. It has a standing army of more than 1 million and there were thousands of soldiers marching here along Kim Il Sung Square. The one dramatic difference that I've seen this parade versus the previous parades that I've seen in this very square. The nuclear program was not included. You didn't see the nuclear symbol and you certainly did not see the intercontinental ballistic missiles that are believe to pose a threat to the mainland United States.
Those were kept away. The focus was on the soldiers themselves. Kim Jong- un the North Korean leader did not give a speech but his right hand man Kim Yong-nom did speak and one thing that he said that I thought was particularly striking. He told soldiers they need to be prepared to fight a war but they also need to be prepared simultaneously to fight an economic battle. To build things like roads and bridges and buildings to grow this country's economy. Something that Kim Jong-un has said is his priority moving forward. Something that he hopes the United States will be able to help with as he continues to work towards diplomacy with President Trump.