DPRK showcases military might to mark ruling party's birthday

16:51, October 10, 2010      

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To clangorous music of a military band, tens of thousands of arms-bearing soldiers goose-stepped past the Kim Il Sung Square here Sunday, in a grand ceremony marking the 65th birthday of the ruling party of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Top leader Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the National Defense Commission, appeared to thunderous cheers at the televised military parade in central Pyongyang, the largest in decades in the Northeastern Asian country.

The show of military might started at 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) with a salvo of 21 guns, after a flag-raising ceremony and a performance by the military band.

In front of over 100,000 spectators, 34 phalanxes of cadets and soldiers from different military and paramilitary services and institutions, including eight all-women ones, marched on foot in gallant goose-steps, with their heads turned toward Kim on a towering tribune of honor.

Following them were 28 arrays on wheels composed of tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery rockets and missiles, including several types of surface-to-surface missiles that had never been publicly displayed before.

Kim, who also serves as supreme commander of the Korean People's Army (KPA), saluted the some 15,000 paraders from time to time from the reviewing stand, where he was joined by Zhou Yongkang, a senior Chinese official invited to the occasion.

The Chinese guest, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, arrived here Saturday morning for a three-day official visit.

Kim and Zhou were flanked by senior DPRK government officials and top military brass, among whom were Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un -- a newly-promoted general and one of the two newly-elected vice chairmen of the WPK's Central Military Commission -- and Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's top lawmaker.

Prior to the march-past, Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the KPA and vice chairman of the WPK's Central Military Commission, reviewed the troops in a limousine.

The KPA has grown into a revolutionary army "boundlessly loyal" to the WPK and an invincible force "having powerful Korean-style offensive and defensive means," said Ri in a speech quoted by the official KCNA news agency.

The newly-promoted vice marshal said that the army "will always keep itself fully alerted as required by the tense situation" and will smash all attackers by unleashing the full fury of its military forces, including nuclear means.

"If the U.S. imperialists and their followers encroach upon the sovereignty and dignity of the country even a bit, it (the KPA) will blow up the strongholds of the aggressors by merciless and just retaliatory blows with all physical means including nuclear deterrent for self-defence involved," he warned.

During the procession, a huge crowd stood in the Kim Il Sung Square, using colorful ornaments to intermittently display the DPRK's national flag and other designs against a red backdrop. Some large balloons floated in the air around the square named after Kim Jong Il's father.

Following the parade, Kim Jong Il walked along the wall on the watching tower and waved from different spots to the watching crowd, which burst into deafening applause and cheers.

The military review culminated days of celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the WPK, which has been ruling the DPRK since the country was established in 1948.

A mass gymnastic and artistic show named Arirang with more than 100,000 performers was staged in Pyongyang on Saturday. Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un and Zhou of China watched the program, which showcased the DPRK's achievements in Socialist construction and the DPRK people's love of the fatherland, aspiration for reunification and peace.

As part of the celebrations, a firework gala was held on Friday night in a festive Pyongyang.

In the lead-up to the celebrations, the capital has been brimmed over with a jubilant ambience, where the streets have been decorated with party and national flags as well as placards.

The celebrations came on the heels of a historic conference of the WPK late last month, when delegates from across the country elected new leading bodies of the ruling party as a transition of power and ushered in a new era for the country.

At the meeting, the largest party event since its 1980 congress, Kim Jong Il was re-elected secretary general of the WPK, and four others were promoted to the Presidium of the Politburo of the WPK Central Committee.

Source: Xinhua


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