North Korea organized on Wednesday night a parade of agricultural tractors and firefighters trucks instead of tanks and missiles, as was the custom, in the presence of leader Kim Jong Un, in the third military parade in less than a year, according to official media.
According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, Kim appeared before the crowd at midnight during a fireworks display and “deserved warm greetings to all the people of the country” without quoting excerpts from his speech.
The Labor Guard and its members participated in the parade, as well as paratroopers and paramilitary units, and an air show was also organized. The North Korean news agency added that cooperative farmers drove “tractors transporting artillery pieces to bombard the aggressors and their forces with devastating firepower in case of emergency.”
The latest offer was less provocative than previous ones, this time featuring members from the Ministry of Railways, the airline Air Koryo and even the Hungnam fertilizer complex without any mention of a strategic weapons display.
The usual giant missiles were replaced, as the highlight of the show, by the fire brigade of the Public Security Forces.
According to the published photos, the audience, without masks, was able to see students carrying firearms, and elements wearing orange uniforms and gas masks.
“We are closely monitoring the situation,” a South Korean defense ministry official said. “We need a more in-depth analysis to get more clarifications,” he added.
Pyongyang has used military parades on several occasions in the past to send messages abroad and to its people.
Thursday marks the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Republic of North Korea. But the system rarely organizes three shows in less than a year.
North Korea has not conducted any nuclear tests or launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.
Instead, the regime has sought to use the offers to send a “message to the international community” without risking escalation, said Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea National Unification Institute in Seoul. Pyongyang is subject to several international sanctions over its banned nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.