Kim Jong Un stresses military role in economic development
Updated 19:25, 09-Feb-2019
CGTN

Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), called on the military to play an active role in the country's economic development at a celebration on Friday.  

He made the remarks during a commemoration event marking the 71st anniversary of the Korean People's Army. 

The country celebrated the anniversary quietly without a military parade or any other show of strength. 

Delivering a speech at the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces, Kim said the military has "a larger role this year, a crucial year in carrying out the five-year strategy for national economic development," reported Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

He urged the military to play a role in the "great surge and innovations" in the nation's "revolutionary struggle" for economic growth and in building a powerful state.

This year's anniversary comes just weeks before Kim's second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam later this month.

"Army-Building Day," which commemorates the 1948 establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA), is one of the DPRK's biggest national holidays. 

Kim also attended a banquet and was joined by top military commanders and government officials.

Last year, a massive military parade was held in Pyongyang to exhibit weapons and military hardware to mark the 70th anniversary.

Hwasong-15 ballistic missiles are shown during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean People's Army in Pyongyang, DPRK, February 8, 2018. /VCG Photo 

Hwasong-15 ballistic missiles are shown during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean People's Army in Pyongyang, DPRK, February 8, 2018. /VCG Photo 

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Since Wednesday, U.S. special envoy for the DPRK Stephen Biegun has been in Pyongyang for pre-summit negotiations with his counterpart, Kim Hyok Chol. 

The two sides were expected to try to work out the outlines of a deal to be finalized at the upcoming summit.

According to Yonhap, the DPRK switched the army anniversary back to February 8 last year after having observed it on April 25 since 1978. 

April 25 is the date when founding leader Kim Il Sung created anti-Japanese guerrilla forces in 1932 during Japan's colonial rule of Korea.

(Top image: DPRK leader Kim Jong Un attends a performance marking the 71st anniversary of the Korean People's Army in Pyongyang, February 8, 2019. /VCG Photo)