Inter-Korean relations were a primary focus at Sunday night’s mass games at Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium, in an event that featured tens of thousands of performers and was attended by DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.
The “grand mass gymnastics and artistic performance” – as it has been dubbed by state media – formed part of celebrations held in the North Korean capital to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
As the games drew to a close, footage of April’s landmark summit between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in was broadcast on a huge screen in the stadium.
Like Sunday night’s Mass Games, a military parade earlier in the day at Kim Il Sung square eschewed typical North Korean style, with authorities choosing not to feature any of the country’s long-range ballistic missile systems and focusing on the economy and inter-Korean ties.
The “Glorious Country” games continued this tone, with imagery primarily focusing on economic development and a recent diplomatic detente between the DPRK, the U.S., and South Korea.
Some slogans repeated the common North Korean refrain of independent unification, and listed the dates of past major inter-Korean summits.
One slogan described April’s Panmunjom Declaration as the beginning of “an era of peace,” while another called on Koreans to “achieve unification by sacrificing our lives.”
Another slogan expressed the DPRK’s hopes for “Global Independence” and “Multilateral Foreign Relations.”
The slogans and images were generated by thousands of “human pixels”: students and children holding colored cardboard squares.
Previous reporting by NK News revealed that participants were practicing long hours ahead of the event, with footage showing grueling rehearsals and some painting the colored boards which composed the mosaic human pixel wall by hand.
Security was, as with all events this weekend, tight: largely due to the presence of leader Kim Jong Un and a series of high-level delegations.
Perhaps Kim’s most high-profile guest was Li Zhanshu, who serves as chairman of the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress.
Also alongside the DPRK leader was his wife Ri Sol Ju, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong Nam, Premier Pak Pong Ju, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho.
The event began around 20.00 local time, lasting over two hours.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday praised the DPRK’s decision not to include nuclear missiles in its Sunday military parade, tweeting that the move was a “very positive statement from North Korea.”
“Thank you to Chairman Kim,” he said. “We will prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other.”
Featured image: NK News
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