North Korea celebrates 70th anniversary minus its ICBMs

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

North Korea has marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country with a massive military parade, but it did not display its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that have become the subject of international sanctions.

A senior Chinese official, but not supreme leader Xi Jinping, attended the anniversary in Pyongyang on Sept. 9. Kyodo / AP

Leader Kim Jong Un observed on September 9 as troops, artillery, and tanks rumbled past his stand in the center of the capital, Pyongyang, Western news agencies reported.

Kim did not address the crowd, which also included high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North, including China and Russia.

There had been speculation that Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend, but Beijing instead sent the head of the its parliament.

Related: Kim tells delegation from Seoul he has faith in Trump, has never disparaged him, Sept. 6, 2018

Russia was represented by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament and a loyal ally of President Vladimir Putin.

In an opening speech, Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea’s parliament, focused the economic goals of the government and stayed away from remarks about the country’s banned nuclear program.

Kim Jong Un’s efforts to ease tensions with the United States and build a relationship with President Donald Trump have become stalled in recent months, with Washington expressing disappointment with Pyongyang’s lack of progress toward denuclearization.

North Korea is pushing for security guarantees and a peace agreement formally ending the Korean War before making further commitments on its nuclear program.

Matviyenko said that she met with Kim during her visit for the anniversary of North Korea’s founding and delivered a message from Putin.

She said Kim “confirmed his willingness and desire” to visit Russia and that talks would begin via “diplomatic channels” to determine the date and time for such a trip.