The Latest: Trump says NKorea parade a ‘positive statement’

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea’s 70th anniversary celebration (all times local):

1 a.m. Monday

President Donald Trump says North Korea’s decision to withhold its most advanced missiles from Sunday’s military parade is a “big and very positive statement” and he’s thanking leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea devoted nearly half of a parade marking the 70th anniversary of its founding to civilian efforts to build its economy, underscoring Kim’s new strategy of focusing on economic development.

Trump and Kim met for the first time in June in Singapore and agreed to work toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Kim recently said he’d like to achieve denuclearization while Trump is president.

Trump tweeted Sunday: “We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.”

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5:25 p.m. Sunday

Chinese President Xi Jinping has congratulated Kim Jong Un and North Korea on the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding, hailing once again what he has called the “new historical period” that North Korea has entered.

China has portrayed itself as a stable partner should the North step up efforts to pursue economic development.

Xi said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, “In recent years, the Korean party and people led by comrade chairman (Kim) took a series of positive measures in economic and social development and achieved important outcomes. The development of North Korea’s socialist cause entered a new historical period. I am very happy about this.”

Xi said he is willing to work with Kim to develop healthy relations between the sides and to promote regional peace and stability.

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1:25 p.m.

North Korea has staged a huge military parade to mark its 70th anniversary as a nation but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the parade to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy.

The strong emphasis on the economy underscores leader Kim Jong Un’s new strategy of putting economic development front and center.

Kim attended the morning parade but did not address the assembled crowd, which included the head of the Chinese parliament and high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North.

Senior statesman Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea’s parliament, set the relatively softer tone for the event with an opening speech that emphasized the economic goals of the regime, not its nuclear might.

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