In pictures: The day I attended Kim Il Sung's 105th birth anniversary military parade

In pictures: The day I attended Kim Il Sung's 105th birth anniversary military parade

It was the third parade Channel NewsAsia's Jeremy Koh attended in Pyongyang and many things started to feel familiar for him, he says.

north korea military parade (1)

PYONGYANG: It was the day that journalists in North Korea had been waiting for. The big question - would Pyongyang conduct a nuclear test or a missile launch?

It turned out to be neither of the above, though the country did engage in its own show of force via a massive military parade.

But as with most matters in North Korea, events on April 15, the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding father Kim Il Sung, were enshrouded in secrecy.

While many had long speculated that Pyongyang would mark the day with a military parade, our minders could not confirm it.

And even the start timing was not revealed until literally the last minute. It turned out to be around 5.30am.

After going through the mandatory security checks - first at the People's Cultural Palace, then near Kim Il Sung Square itself - we were finally in position at about 8.30am and the parade proper would not start until around 10am.

It is the third parade in as many years that I am attending in Pyongyang, and many things are starting to feel familiar - the goose-stepping soldiers, the adoring masses and just the huge number of people involved.

But it is always interesting to see what sort of military hardware Pyongyang will trot out. This year, North Korea brought out its big guns so to speak. It displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-launched missiles for the first time.

But the display of weaponry was quickly followed by what seemed like an endless parade of people who streamed by leader Kim Jong Un, who waved occasionally and looked approvingly at his adoring masses.

Some were even in tears when they shouted their support for their leader. That may be hard to fathom for most people in other countries, but this level of devotion does certainly seem to be unparalleled.

What do they really think? It is hard to tell as our interactions with locals are brief and hard to come by. I had interviewed two parade participants and had just started speaking to a third when a foreign ministry official stopped it and said it was time to go.

And that was it.

We will just have to keep trying to speak to locals. And bit by bit, through the efforts of not just myself, but also of other journalists, we hope to provide a better understanding of the hermit kingdom.

Source: CNA/xk