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Kim Jong-un broke down in tears during his address to North Koreans at a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party. The North Korean dictator openly wept and sobbed in a rare emotional speech as he spoke to a crowd of tens of thousands of people. CNN’s international correspondent Will Ripling noted that the crying leader “indicates what a difficult situation it is right now in North Korea”.
The parade was the country’s first in two years and comes just weeks ahead of the US presidential election.
Experts suggest that one of the showcased missiles, which was on a transporter vehicle with 11 axles, would be the largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the world if it becomes operational.
In a striking sight, none of the attendees could be seen wearing face masks, while social distancing was not observed.
Unlike past parades, no foreign media or foreigners were allowed to attend, so analysts have been forced to rely on edited state-media footage.
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Images from the state TV showed Mr Kim wearing a grey Western-style suit, receiving flowers from children.
Analysing the footage, Mr Ripley tweeted: “North Korea wraps up its broadcast of an extraordinary military parade.
“It begins with Kim Jong Un (in a grey suit) sobbing as his nation reels from a triple threat: Sanctions, Natural Disasters, COVID-19. It ends with a bang — massive new missiles on display.”
He had earlier told CNN: “We saw a very different Kim Jong-un at the parade. He become very emotional when he spoke to the crowd there.
“North Korean contacts I spoke to summed it up as this: 2020 has been a tough year for everyone around the world, especially a country like North Korea which has such limited resources.
“North Korea has essentially sealed off its borders since January which means all the goods they rely on from China have not come in.
“Add on top of that, the natural disasters, major flooding and typhoons.
“It was also really striking to see tens of thousands of people in the crowd with no masks and no social distancing.”
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Mr Ripley added: “Kim Jong-un sobbing there, standing at the podium and crying and thanking his people and his party and military indicates what a difficult situation it is right now in North Korea, which is more isolated than ever.”
Mr Kim claims he has prevented COVID-19 from entering the country, although he continues to hold high-level meetings to ensure tight restrictions remain in place.
Authorities have reportedly issued “shoot-to-kill” orders along the border and created a buffer zone to stop anyone entering the country.
During his speech, the North Korean leader said: “I wish good health to all the people around the world who are fighting the ills of this evil virus.”
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