North Korea Turns 70 🎂

 Wong Maye-E / AP

Wong Maye-E / AP

A missile-free military parade

North Korea celebrated its 70th anniversary on Sunday. Instead of the usual emphasis on military might, the parade was without intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) – focusing rather on peace and economic development. President Trump tweeted his thanks to Kim Jong Un

The Trump-Kim bromance

Following the historic June 18th summit in Singapore, relations between North Korea and the US have been slowly improving. Despite some hiccups, the progress is highlighted by Mike Pompeo’s July visit, the return of the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War, and the destruction of a missile test site


OPTIMISTIC:

Washington Examiner: Trump: North Korea showed commitment to denuclearization by cutting out weapons from military parade

Taipei Times: Floats, flowers in N Korean parade

Outlets optimistic about North Korean denuclearization note that the parade did not have any ICBM nukes, a move praised by many. They contend that Kim dropped the missiles to show Trump his intention to denuclearize. Furthermore, they emphasize that the parade was focused on peace and economic development – bringing attention to the colorful floats and marching construction workers instead of the usual weapons and soldiers.  

SKEPTICAL:

Express: North Korea vows to KEEP nuclear weapons in huge blow to Trump as WW3 tensions soar

NBC News: North Korea is still making nukes, and the Trump admin is taking a harder line

Outlets skeptical about North Korea quote a senior Russian official stating that Kim has no intention of denuclearizing. They claim that Putin’s invitation to Kim may have played a role in the lack of intent to denuclearize. Furthermore, skeptical outlets believe the parade was characterized as a show of force - contrasting the sentiments of optimistic outlets. They also point to evidence that Kim is still manufacturing nukes.


Hot & Cold - What does Kim really want?

Regardless of North Korea’s true intentions on denuclearization, relations with the US and South Korea have progressed further than ever before. The South Korean president is set to meet his North Korean counterpart for the third time this year. A healthy dose of skepticism is warranted when dealing with North Korea, however, the progress made should not be undermined and should serve as a building block. 

Question: will the blocks keep building?

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