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North Korea holds midnight military parade without Kim’s address

SEOUL

North Korea paraded goose-stepping soldiers and military parade in its capital overnight in a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary that was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported Thursday.

State television hasn’t broadcast footage of the parade as of Thursday morning and the full range of weaponry displayed during the event wasn’t immediately clear.

But there were indications that the parade, which North Korea said involved paramilitary and public security forces, was toned down compared to previous military parades in January and October last year when the North rolled out some of its most provocative strategic weapons threatening Asian rivals and the American homeland.

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State media made no mention of ballistic weaponry being showcased this time.

The Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos and reports of fighter jets flying in formation above a brightly illuminated Kim Il Sung Square, named after Kim’s state-founding grandfather, and artillery pieces hauled by tractors. There were also marches of military search dogs and troops wearing gas masks and bright red suits.

The KCNA portrayed an event that was focused on domestic messaging, praising the marching units civilian defense organizations, and public security forces for supposedly making huge contributions in anti-virus work, rebuilding communities destroyed by floods, and efforts to improve an economy battered by international sanctions and pandemic border closures.

Photos showed Kim, wearing a cream suit, waving from a balcony toward the assembled troops and spectators. The reports didn’t say if Kim made a speech during the event.

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