Rally for North Korea's 70th anniversary

North Korean youths march during celebrations for the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding.
North Korean youths march during celebrations for the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding.

Tens of thousands of North Korean students have rallied in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square in the final major event of the country's elaborate 70th anniversary celebrations.

The rally on Monday featured a sea of university and high school students carrying torches that spelled out giant slogans.

Leader Kim Jong Un did not attend the parade.

This year's anniversary downplayed the missiles and nuclear weapons that brought the country to the brink of conflict with the United States just one year ago.

At one point, the show featured giant images of Kim shaking hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their first summit, in April, in the Demilitarised Zone that divides their two countries.

The image of the two Korean leaders was met by loud applause and cheers from the audience at the 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent the ruling Communist Party's third-highest official to attend as his special envoy, issued a statement saying he is willing to work with Kim to develop healthy relations and promote regional peace and stability.

"I sincerely hope that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will prosper and the people enjoy a happy and healthy life," Xi said.

Australian Associated Press