April 21, 2019
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North Korea marks founder's birthday sans warmongering rhetoric

 A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un making a policy speech 'on the socialist construction at the present stage and the internal and external policies of the government of the Republic' during the first session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Apr.12, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/KCNA EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un making a policy speech 'on the socialist construction at the present stage and the internal and external policies of the government of the Republic' during the first session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Apr.12, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/KCNA EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Seoul, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- North Korea on Monday celebrated the 107th birth anniversary of its founder Kim Il-sung with festivities devoid of any usual warmongering rhetoric.

Like in the past, droves of people in the isolated nation paid tributes to the founder by placing flowers and bowing in respect in front of the founder's statues.

The day, Apr 15, is celebrated as the “Day of the Sun” in North Korea to mark the birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, whose grandson Kim Jong Un is the current leader of the country after he inherited power from his father Kim Jong-il in 2011.

However, this year’s celebrations on the national holiday event were conspicuous as there were no images or slogan shouting related to the North Korean nuclear weapon program, which had been a constant feature of North Korea’s public events until recently.

The change is being interpreted as underlining North Korea’s willingness to continue dialog with the United States despite an unsuccessful second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

The summit ended abruptly in Hanoi on Feb.28 without an agreement or a road map for the future of the talks process aimed at denuclearization of the peninsula.

North Korea’s no rhetoric-mongering is in line with what was seen in the executive meetings of the Workers Party and at the inauguration of the legislature of the Supreme People's Assembly (parliament) last week.

In his speech to the parliament, the North Korean leader said he was willing to meet President Trump again for an agreement on denuclearization, although he insisted that Washington change its attitude regarding the issue.

In another address to the Central Committee of North Korea's only political party, Kim also defended the importance of self-sufficiency of the regime as a mechanism for not giving in to international sanctions, urging the people to be patient with the long negotiation fraught with complications.

The disagreement at the Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi revolved around the number of North Korean nuclear assets that will have to be dismantled and the volume of sanctions that the US would alleviate as a corresponding measure.

Washington, which demanded Pyongyang dismantle its missiles, chemical and biological weapons (in addition to its nuclear armament) before granting concessions, considered North Korea's offer insufficient.

North Korea had said that it would disable the Yongbyon nuclear research center in exchange for the lifting of majority sanctions.

asb/sp/ssk

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