North Korea begins celebrating 70th anniversary of its official birth

North Korea begins celebrating 70th anniversary of its official birth as a nation with huge concert

North Korea begins celebrating the 70th anniversary of its official birth as a nation with a huge concert – and there is not a missile in sight

  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed on September 9, 1948, and is major occasion in North
  • Birth of nation took place three years after Moscow and Washington divided the peninsula between them
  • Series of events will include ‘mass games’, where thousands of people dance or hold up placards in unison 
  • Celebrations began with concert featuring state’s top musical ensembles at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium

North Korea began celebrating the 70th anniversary of its official birth as a nation with a huge concert – and there was not a missile in sight.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed on September 9, 1948, three years after Moscow and Washington divided the peninsula between them in the closing days of the Second World War.

The anniversary is a major occasion in the North, and is being marked with a series of events expected to include a military parade and the return of the ‘Mass Games’ after a five-year absence.

The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are intended to be a display of national unity. 

North Korea began celebrating the 70th anniversary of its official birth as a nation today with a huge concert, pictured, ahead of the main events tomorrow

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed on September 9, 1948. During the concert this evening, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was projected on to a screen as orchestra musicians performed

Although the military featured in the concert (pictured: military choir members), there was a notable absence of footage of ballistic missile launches 

In recent years the events have always included footage of the ballistic missile launches under leader Kim Jong-un that, along with Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, have earned the North multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions


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The celebrations began on Saturday evening with a concert in front of an invited audience of several thousand people at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

Featuring three of the state’s top musical ensembles – the State Merited Chorus army choir, the Samjiyon Orchestra and the Mansudae Art Troupe – a red grand piano took centre stage.

At such events in North Korea performers normally play in front of a giant screen displaying the country’s successes.

In recent years that has always included footage of the ballistic missile launches under leader Kim Jong-un that, along with Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, have earned the North multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions.

Instead of missiles, the imagery at Saturday’s concert highlighted North Korean landmarks, from its spiritual birthplace Mount Paektu to the Pyongyang skyline, and economic development, with shots of factories, steel plants, and abundant fields of wheat

Only a few short segments featured the military, with only conventional equipment on display. It seems the North is keen to send a different message to the past

Songs included ‘Socialism, I love you’, and the first-ever public performance of a new ode to Kim Jong-un, ‘Be loved, our father’. Pictured: audience members watch the concert

 ‘The Supreme Leader visits every family even at midnight and even at dawn,’ ran the lyrics. ‘He hears everything the ordinary people say…. We are confident in his powerful leadership, taking us to the future, Oh, Comrade Kim Jong-un.’ Pictured: students performing at the concert

Every time Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder Kim Il Sung, or his successors appeared on screen the audience broke into applause, with the loudest reserved for the current leader

But in a dramatic turnaround on the peninsula triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South in February, the North is engaged on multiple diplomatic fronts, even as the US insists it give up its weapons.

After a June meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore and its third summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in due in Pyongyang later this month, the North is keen to send a different message to the past.

Instead of missiles, the imagery at Saturday’s concert highlighted North Korean landmarks, from its spiritual birthplace Mount Paektu to the Pyongyang skyline, and economic development, with shots of factories, steel plants, and abundant fields of wheat.

Featuring three of the state’s top musical ensembles – the State Merited Chorus army choir, the Samjiyon Orchestra and the Mansudae Art Troupe – a red grand piano took centre stage

Pictured: North Korean military cadets clapping during the evening gala earlier this evening

Pictured: North Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers leave following the concert ahead of the country’s official birthday tomorrow

The anniversary is a major occasion in the North, and is being marked with a series of events expected to include a military parade and the return of the ‘Mass Games’ after a five-year absence

The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are intended to be a display of national unity. Pictured: students performing

Only a few short segments featured the military, with only conventional equipment on display.

And in one, when tanks rolled, jets flew and infantry marched, a message ran across the top of the screen: ‘Military strength ensures peace’.

Moments later the hardware was replaced with images of ripe red apples.

In April, leader Kim declared the North’s nuclear programme a success and said the country’s new strategic priority would be ‘socialist economic construction’.

Earlier in the day officials attended a ceremony (pictured) ahead of the country’s official birthday tomorrow

Pictured: officials clapping during a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s foundation

Pictured: participants arrive in Pyongyang to take part in events over the weekend to commemorate the country’s 70th anniversary

Every time Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder Kim Il Sung, or his successors appeared on screen the audience broke into applause, with the loudest reserved for the current leader.

Songs included ‘Socialism, I love you’, and the first-ever public performance of a new ode to Kim Jong-un, ‘Be loved, our father’.

‘The Supreme Leader visits every family even at midnight and even at dawn,’ ran the lyrics. ‘He hears everything the ordinary people say…. We are confident in his powerful leadership, taking us to the future, Oh, Comrade Kim Jong-un.’ 

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