U.S. President Donald Trump said it was "a big and very positive statement" that North Korea staged its latest military parade without its usual display of missiles capable of striking the U.S.
"Thank you To Chairman Kim," Trump tweeted after Sunday's 70th anniversary parade celebrating the country's founding.
"We will both prove everyone wrong!" Trump said of stalled negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. "There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office."
The parade included many familiar sights, including goose-stepping soldiers, tanks, grenade launchers, and a whole range of missiles.
But missing were the intercontinental ballistic missiles that the North has said are capable of carrying nuclear warheads to U.S. territory.
Trump, echoing North Korean commentary on the parade, said the "theme was peace and economic development." The president favorably quoted commentary from his favorite Fox News network, saying that "Experts believe that North Korea cut out the nuclear missiles to show President Trump its commitment to denuclearize."
Kim presided over the parade but did not address the crowd assembled in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square.
The military parade happened at a particularly sensitive time for North Korea. The North is attempting to ease tensions with the U.S., following the June summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore.
Kim pledged at the summit to abandon his country's nuclear arsenal, but the agreement did not lay out how and when that might occur. Last week Kim said he hopes to denuclearize the country by the end of Trump's first term in the White House in early January 2021.
Within a day of leaving the summit, Trump declared, "There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."
However, more recently, Trump, despite his praise for Kim, has been irked at the slow pace of talks between the two countries. Last month, he ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to not go to Pyongyang for more discussions.
Both Kim and Trump want agreements made before beginning a new round of talks. Washington wants North Korea to commit specifically to denuclearization, while Pyongyang is demanding security assurances and other concessions in advance of dismantling its nuclear arsenal.
Source: Voice of America