North Korea marks 70th anniversary with somewhat muted military parade

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It was the first time that Kim has given a timeline for denuclearization.

In previous, failed rounds of negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programme, North Korea has said it could consider giving up its arsenal if Washington provides security guarantees by removing troops from South Korea and withdrawing its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from the South and Japan. It will kick off a month of events created to lure foreign investment, attract tourists, and showcase Kim's new focus on the economy. "North Korea has the economic problems and there are people unhappy with that". "He hears everything the ordinary people say".

North Korea said the request to circulate the document to the 193 United Nations member states "shows full determination of North and South Korea to keep advancing the North-South ties without deviation" and to demonstrate that they "have entered definitely the new orbit of peace, the orbit of reconciliation and cooperation".

But that has been dropped this year, underlining Mr Kim's stated aim for denuclearising the Korean peninsula and his recent meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and summits with US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang - or Arirang Games - last took place in 2013.

Past games have featured enormous stadiums filled with performers, synchronised gymnasts and co-ordinated dance displays.

Ironically, however, such expectations actually betray the diminished sense of optimism about inter-Korean collaboration, largely due to a lack of progress in the denuclearization of North Korea.

Michael Spavor, a Canadian business consultant who heads Paektu Cultural Exchange, said he is working with the North Korean government to bring about 25 Chinese investors and entrepreneurs to tour potential projects in Pyongyang, Wonsan and Nampho.

"So maybe more of a laser show, or computer generated imagery".

The Arirang Mass Games, meanwhile, are an elaborate propaganda spectacle with enormous co-ordinated displays.

"Mainly they serve to reinforce the national story while simultaneously demonstrating very high levels of skill and coordination", he said, comparing the Mass Games to the United States' football Super Bowl, with its celebrations of "heroism, the military and advertising and commerce".

North Korean officials have throughout this week been keen to stress to foreign journalists the importance of Kim Jong Un's April decision to shift ruling party priority to the economy.

"These milestone anniversaries are an opportunity to give the people something to celebrate, instill a sense of pride and they're also an opportunity to send a message to the outside world", said Jean Lee, the director of the The Wilson Center's Korea Center and a former Pyongyang bureau chief for The Associated Press.

Kim has recently pledged to bolster the nation's economy instead of developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Chung said Kim expressed "frustration over the doubt raised by some parts of the worldwide community about his willingness to denuclearize, and asked us to convey his message to the United States".