A British news channel has claimed it is the first Western news organisation to question North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a military parade marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
The secretive nation allowed in a large group of foreign journalists last week to cover Saturday’s lavish celebrations of the truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean war, which North Korea says it won.
Channel 4 News’ Asia correspondent John Sparks was attending the event where tens of thousands of troops marched through Pyongyang and was able to ask the nation’s beloved leader a question.
Sparks also questioned foreigners attending the celebration about their reasons for being in North Korea, but many demurred.
Korean war veteran Kim Jae-kwon told Sparks: “The message is clear. Even though other socialist countries have collapsed, we are strong and can repel any attack.”
The correspondent’s report also showed how some characteristics of the Pyongyang celebrations were staged, including applause from cheering crowds and band members who didn’t seem to be playing their musical instruments. He noted that some of the soldiers’ weaponry and equipment looked fake or outdated as well.
The lavish parade was designed to impress people at home and abroad but appearances aren’t always what they seem, according to the report.
North Korea remains one of the most closed-off and tightly controlled countries on earth.