North Korea’s April 15 military parade, in pictures
The DPRK celebrated KIS's 105th birthday in classic style -and NK News was there to document it
Chad O'Carroll and Oliver Hotham, Saturday 15 April 2017 11:51 GMT
The guides were tight-lipped, even at 11 PM the night before, telling journalists to be in the lobby at 4:30 AM without mobile phones, laptops, lighters or bags. But the international press, based out of Pyongyang’s Yanggakdo International Hotel since Wednesday, knew what was in store for them.
Saturday was one of North Korea’s most significant public holidays. The Day of the Sun, the celebration of the anniversary of the first of the country’s founding President Kim Il Sung, is always a grand show in the DPRK.
And the North Koreans did not disappoint. After a grueling early morning start and four security checkpoints – one at the April 25 House of Culture and three near the site of the rally – a dramatic display of North Korea militarism boomed across the city as Kim Jong Un applauded and smiled approvingly.
NK News had a front row seat.
Christina Lee contributed to this gallery.
Bright and early near Kim Il Sung Square
Journalists were brought to this street next to Kim Il Sung square, at 8 AM as the proceedings got underway. On the right is the Ministry of Trade.
Security was tight: International press had to go through three checkpoints before arriving at the site of the parade.
State media pride
North Korea’s state media had the best seats in the house - journalists from party-linked newspapers and government-run TV covered the square, making sure to get the best shots of the action for the evening news.
An elite crowd
Dignitaries from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, along with foreign diplomats and tourists, were there in their hundreds.
While foreign journalists had to jostle for positions close to the action, KCTV were right at the front.
Also present were high-ranking officials from the Korean People’s Army (KPA).
The KPA division
The KPA plays a central role in North Korean society and, as a result, yields significant political clout.
Building up to the big event
Months of organization went into today’s event: rehearsals have been underway on an airfield near the Mirim Horse Riding Club in the south-east of Pyongyang.
Military began pouring into the square from the north around 10 AM.
First to enter were infantry, seen here with modified Type 58 assault rifles. They shouted “Mansei!”, a Korean word which roughly translates to “live forever” - a common political chant in North Korea.
Also in line were North Korea’s special forces.
Civilians holding artificial flowers stood in line on the other side of the square.
Infantry prepped for winter conditions were also among the first to arrive.
Boasting new gadgets
Special forces troops were seen with night vision goggles, camouflage, and modified Type 58 guns.
KPA women's march
Women from the KPA also marched. While all men in North Korea are required to do military service, women get a little more flexibility.
The Big 105
Planes spelt out “105” in the sky - a tribute to the man the day was all about: founding President Kim Il Sung, who would have been 105 years old today.
The Soviet T-62
The Soviet T-62 main battle tanks rumbled past as the procession went on.
As did heavy artillery. In event of a war, the South Korean capital, Seoul, would be a prime target for these soldiers.
Also on show was the most controversial aspect of North Korea’s military: its missile program. Here we see the KN-02 Toksa (known as Viper in Korean). It has an estimated range of 120-160 km.
Anti-ship cruise missiles
Anti-ship cruise missiles rumbled past, too.
North Korea’s KN-11, which is capable of hitting Japan and - of course - South Korea, was also on show.
The unknown missile
What appears to be a new track launcher. The exact type of missile is, as yet, unclear.
Star of the show
The Pukguksong-2 was the star of the show. North Korea tested one of these as recently as April 6.
One of North Korea’s Musudan-type missiles. The missile type has been plagued with launch problems, with the DPRK succeeding with only one launch to date.
A possible variant of an KN-14 intercontinental range ballistic missile, being carried aboard a modified transporter erector launcher system.
A new ICBM?
A probable new ICBM long-range missile being carried by a never-before-seen extended and articulated truck-based launcher system.
Transporter erector launcher carries unidentified missile type
Transporter erector launchers used previously to carry intermediate range (IRBM) KN-14 missiles thunder across Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square carrying a new and unidentified missile type. The enlarged size is consistent with road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile models from other countries.
Air Force jets emit colored smoke
After the main display of missiles finished, five Air Force jets flew over Kim Il Sung square emitting colored smoke.
Bronze and larger-than-life
Bronze-effect model statues of founding president Kim Il Sung and the late Kim Jong Il are carried by men carrying the DPRK’s national flag.
Celebrating the leader
Crowds walk towards their leader.
Cheering for the leader
People on the row closest to Kim Jong Un and observing military spectators tended to wave and chant the most.
Women in chosonot
A local journalist representing one of the DPRK’s state media outlets stands as women dressed in Korean traditional dress pass by. The reverse of one of the colorful banners is blank.
Unite as one heart
Men and women carrying floral decorations pass close to Kim Jong Un. The signage reads: Unite as one heart – the impetus of a leap.
Demonstration of loyalty
A woman cries as she passes close to Kim Jong Un. While some individuals were in tears to see their leader, the majority smiled or shouted as they passed him.
North Korea's five-year economic plan
Men and women carrying a float promoting the countries five year economic plan. The signage reads: National Economy Growth - Five-year economic growth plan
'All praise socialist health care'
Doctors and nurses march past Kim Jong Un shouting “Mansei, Mansei” in his direction. The signage reads: All praise the socialist health care system!
Sportspersons wearing medals from international sporting events, including the Olympics. The signage reads: By winning gold medals, uphold Juche Chosun’s dignity and glory!
Arts and Humanities
A float dedicated to North Korea’s artists, writers and journalists. The signage reads: With the waterfall of masterpieces, all serve the Songun leadership!
Mount Paektu and Lake Chon
Mount Paektu and Lake Chon are depicted on a placard. The signage reads: Manufacture, study, and the way of living – do them all like anti-Japan guerrilla units!
A float dedicated to reunification of the Koreas. The signage reads: Autonomy of Minjok, Grand unity of Minjok, Unification through the federal system, Security of peace (Top); The June 15 joint declaration, the October 4 declaration (Middle); Unified, powerful nation for the generations to come! (Bottom)
Doves and missiles
Doves indicating peace are displayed adjacent to emerging DPRK ballistic missile technologies. The signage reads: For the peace and stability of the world
Kim Jong Un waves to the public
After the parade, Kim Jong Un walked along the observation deck and waved to citizens and soldiers alike. In response, the crowds closest to him chanted repeatedly “Kim Jong Un! Kim Jong Un! Kim Jong Un!”
Citizens take a well needed break after standing for hours in hot sun both during and prior to the parade.
Clean up in Kim Il Sung Square
Shortly after the parade ended, local citizens emerged to sweep the streets clean of debris that had fallen off displays and artificial flowers.
A man carrying artificial flowers walks home across Kim Il Sung square.
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