Hundreds of trucks carrying thousands of troops lined a Pyongyang riverbank in the pale light of dawn early Sunday, as nuclear-armed North Korea prepared to celebrate its birthday with a huge show of military strength. Sunday is the 70th anniversary of the 1948 foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the North is officially known, three years after Moscow and Washington divided the peninsula between them in the closing days of the Second World War. Such set-piece dates are a mainstay of the North’s political calendar, particularly when round numbers are involved, and have traditionally been occasions for showing off its latest hardware.
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