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NK’s Kim watches mass games for 75th anniversary of ruling party

In this photo by Rodong Sinmun, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the mass games event titled “Great Guidance” at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang on Sunday. (Rodong Sinmun-Yonhap)
In this photo by Rodong Sinmun, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the mass games event titled “Great Guidance” at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang on Sunday. (Rodong Sinmun-Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watched tens of thousands of dancers and gymnasts perform at a mass spectacle held to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party’s founding, state media said Monday.

Kim attended the event, called the “Great Guidance,” at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang on Sunday, according to the Korea Central News Agency.

The famed mass games are the North’s major propaganda event, in which tens of thousands of North Koreans take part in synchronized performances that blend theater, gymnastics and circus acts. The show has been a key attraction for foreign tourists and a major source of much-needed foreign currency for the reclusive regime.

State media outlets said Kim was greeted by loud cheers as he entered the stadium, and he was seen along with other top officials, waving and smiling to the audience during the show in published photographs.

The performance is set to run until the end of the month, contradicting speculation that the North might cancel or scale down this year’s event to prevent a coronavirus outbreak. Kim and other officials at the stadium were seen without masks, apparently in a show of confidence of the North’s fight against COVID-19. Kim also mentioned during his speech the previous day that the country had zero COVID-19 cases, a claim that has been widely disputed by outside observers.

The large-scale performance came a day after the North’s rare predawn military parade Saturday, where the country unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a new submarine-launched ballistic missile and a broad array of other new weapons.

Kim also took pictures in front of the April 25 House of Culture in central Pyongyang with thousands of the soldiers who participated in Saturday’s mass military parade and praised their efforts, according to the KCNA.

Officials including Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, and Pak Jong-chon, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, attended the photo session. 

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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