KIM JONG-UN PLACATES TRUMP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un apparently sought to mollify U.S. President Donald Trump on the occasion of a military parade marking the ruling party's 75th anniversary, as the coronavirus pandemic has choked the economy, Kyodo News said.
In a bid to reconstruct the sluggish economy, Kim may be hoping he will continue negotiations with Trump about denuclearization and economic sanctions relief after the presidential election in early November, North Korean watchers say.
From midnight on Saturday, North Korea staged a very rare predawn military parade in Pyongyang, the first in two years, to commemorate the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, with fireworks set off and buildings lit up.
What appears to be a cutting-edge intercontinental ballistic missile was displayed, but the parade and Kim's speech were "restrained," said Atsuhito Isozaki, an associate professor of Keio University in Tokyo.
In the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, in which Trump is seeking a second term, "North Korea needed to adopt a wait-and-see attitude," Isozaki added.
A source familiar with the situation in Pyongyang said, "Kim likes Trump. He may believe he can make concessions from the United States if Trump is re-elected."
"It is the top priority for Kim to sit face-to-face with Trump to improve the domestic economy facing a severe downturn in the wake of the global outbreak of the coronavirus. It is unthinkable for Kim to do something that could provoke Trump," the source said.
At the beginning of the latest military parade, Kim pledged in his 30-minute speech to further strengthen nuclear war deterrence, but he stressed that it is aimed at self-defense.