North Korea has staged what it called ‘paramilitary and public security’ parade in Pyongyang to mark the country’s founding anniversary, state media said.
Leader Kim Jong Un attended the event in the early hours of Thursday, which was held at Kim Il Sung square in the capital, Pyongyang, and included an aerial display by fighter jets, the Korean Central News Agency said.
Images from KCNA showed Kim, wearing a light beige suit, waving from a balcony at the spectators gathered below. Soldiers in orange hazmat suits formed part of the parade, which included troops on horseback, dog-handing teams and some military equipment.
The parade is the nuclear-armed nation’s third such display in less than a year. Previous nighttime parades were not broadcast live but shown hours later on state television.
Pyongyang has continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes – for which it is internationally sanctioned – during the diplomatic engagement of recent years and has used such events to show off its latest missile developments.
Last October, Kim unveiled previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles in a predawn military parade that showcased the country’s long-range weapons for the first time in two years.
A night-time military parade was also held in January.
A submarine-launched ballistic missile that KCNA described as the “world’s most powerful weapon” was the centrepiece of that event, which took place days before Joe Biden’s inauguration as US president.
The latest parade did not appear to include any major military hardware or new missiles.
Specialist website NK News cited sources in Pyongyang as saying that fireworks went off in the city centre about midnight and again at 1am (16:00 GMT) and jets were heard flying overhead.
Thursday marks the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the North is officially known.