Dozens of military vehicles and goose-stepping soldiers paraded through the streets of the North Korean capital Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's founding, against a background of stalled diplomatic talks with the United States over the issue of denuclearization.
Numerous tanks and other vehicles at the parade still bore a slogan on the front: "Destroy the United States imperialist aggressors, the sworn enemy of the DPRK people!"
According to footage broadcast from the scene by global TV news crews, no Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were on display - a concession nearly certainly aimed at the United States.
Among the crowd were North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju, .as well as foreign VVIPs, including Li Zhanshu, the number-three man in China, sent by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The two held their hands high, suggesting strongly rejuvenated ties between the two countries.
Participants perform Mass Games at May Day stadium marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018. It blends art with mass engagement and propaganda messaging.
Part Olympic opening ceremony, part Super Bowl halftime show, the games were relaunched by Kim after a five-year hiatus.
And French actor Gerard Depardieu is also in Pyongyang. The reason for the thespian's presence is unknown; he reportedly refused to speak to journalists. We will both prove everyone wrong! "Much better than before I took office".
Washington wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program while Kim wants security concessions and a formal agreement ending the Korean War.
Sunday's parade came just days after a high-level South Korean delegation had returned from a meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong Un presided over a tempered military parade Sunday, in the latest sign that he wants to revive stalled nuclear talks with the U.S.as he pushes for North Korea to rejoin the worldwide community. Trump wrote in first tweet. "We will get it done together!"
Recalling his three meetings with Xi, Kim said he felt in person the valuable and warm DPRK-China friendship, adding that the DPRK will firmly carry on and do its best to develop the friendship no matter how the global situation changes.More news: Tropical storm Helene forms near Cape Verde: U.S. NHC
There was speculation that Xi might reciprocate for the anniversary - Hu Jintao was the last Chinese president to visit in 2005, and the then premier Wen Jiabao followed suit in 2009.
Mr Xi also reaffirmed China's commitment to reinforcing relations with North Korea.
On the day, however, neither transpired.
"This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea".
While experts do say that the absence of missiles in the parade was meant to avoid upsetting Trump, progress on getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons remains at a standstill.
He did not expect the North to do so, particularly as it would put the visiting Chinese delegation in the hard position of appearing to endorse the weapons programmes that have seen Pyongyang subjected to multiple global sanctions. His speech focused largely on the regime's achievement of military power and its focus on economic development, according to news reports.
The slogans - one of which said "all efforts on economy" - are in line with Kim's new political priority outlined earlier this year before he met Trump.
North Korea declared its establishment as an individual state in 1948 following Korea's liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945. It was Kim's first known visit to the mausoleum since 2012.
Kim Jong Un was there again, and he was the climax of the show. He also oversaw the country's first successful nuclear test in 2006.
"Apparently Kim Jong Un thought that now was not time to unnecessarily provoke Trump", said Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.
No long-range missiles were on display, with the parade instead focusing on economic development.