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Saturday, October 10, 2015, 18:12

DPRK marks anniversary of ruling party

By Agencies

DPRK marks anniversary of ruling party
In this Oct 10, 2015 image made from video, DPRK leader Kim Jong-u n, center, along with Liu Yunshan, China's Communist Party's No. 5 leader, second right, waves during the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's ruling party in Pyongyang. (KRT via AP Video)

PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) kicked off a huge military parade Saturday on Kim II Sung Square in Pyongyang, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

Speaking at the parade, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un said the country was ready to respond to any threats posed by the United States.

"Our revolutionary force is ready to respond to any kind of war the American imperialists want," said Kim, whose speech was interrupted by applause several times.

"Through the line of Songun (military-first) politics, our Korean People's Army has become the strongest revolutionary force and our country has become an impenetrable fortress and a global military power," he said.

After his speech, thousands of soldiers help up colored cards to spell out "Songun politics" and "Defending our homeland."

Before the speech, the official Korean Central TV showed Kim, clad in black, walking down a red carpet and saluting his honor guard. Kim then walked up to a podium and waved to troops who were taking part in the parade in Pyongyang.

Visiting Chinese official Liu Yunshan stood clapping to Kim's left, with senior DPRK officials on Kim's right. Kim smiled as he spoke with Liu through a translator.

A Communist Party of China (CPC) delegation headed by Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, attended the activity.

In a military parade, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers and a variety of missiles mounted on trucks rolled by, while military planes flew in formation above the square, forming the symbol of the Workers' Party of Korea — a hammer, brush and sickle. Another group of planes formed the number 70 in the sky.

An expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, a security think tank in Seoul, Jin Moo-kim, said the DPRK revealed a new 300-millimeter rocket launcher and drones. It also displayed a KN-08 ballistic missile, with an estimated range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) that the country had previously shown off in 2012.

Thousands of civilian marchers followed, holding colored cards to spell out Kim's name, and he responded by waving to the crowd and holding the hand of Liu, the visiting Chinese official.

As the clock struck midnight Friday, Kim marked the anniversary by paying respect to both his late father and grandfather at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, according to the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.

Masses of Pyongyang citizens have for weeks been out in public plazas across the city practicing their roles for a torchlight parade in the evening.

For the finale, a stage has been set up on a river running through central Pyongyang for a late-night concert featuring the DPRK's most popular musical group, the all-female Moranbong Band. Tickets for foreigners hoping to attend the concert were going for 100 euros (US$114) a pop.

The spectacle promises to be the most elaborate since Kim assumed power after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011, and satellite imagery suggests the military parade could be the country's biggest ever.

DPRK marks anniversary of ruling party
A convoy of trucks head towards Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, Oct 10, 2015. (Takuro Yabe/Kyodo News via AP)

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