North Korean authorities staged a military parade to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the communist state, in which none of the major ballistic missiles appeared.
Instead, state television broadcast scenes from the parade, which took place at night, showing soldiers and workers wearing gas-protective suits.
The leader, Kim Jong-un, who looked even thinner than before, was seen in the crowd without masks, embracing children.
North Korea is suffering from a food shortage and an economic crisis exacerbated by the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic.
Official media published pictures of ambulances and tractors that also participated in the parade, in addition to setting off fireworks.
Our correspondent believes that the participation of soldiers and workers wearing protective suits and gas masks may indicate the establishment of a special unit to combat the outbreak of the Corona virus in the country.
Chinese state media reported that President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Kim Jong Un on the occasion.
China is North Korea’s strongest ally, which depends on its neighbor for food, pesticides and fuel.
But trade exchanges between the two countries have declined a lot, since North Korea closed its land borders, to prevent the outbreak of the Corona virus in January 2020, and Pyongyang also refused 3 million doses of the anti-virus vaccine from China.
Since August 19, North Korea has not recorded any new cases of coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. But regime critics are skeptical.
According to the World Health Organization’s weekly report, about 37,291 people, including health workers and those who suffer from flu-like symptoms, underwent tests, all of which were negative.
But Kim Jong-un admitted that his country suffers from a lack of food, and there have been reports of relief organizations of people dying of starvation in the country, due to the deteriorating economic conditions.
But economic conditions have not disrupted the country’s nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency said last month that Pyongyang appeared to have restarted a reactor that could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, describing it as a “worrying development.”