North Korea has reportedly canceled its annual “anti-U.S. imperialism” rally, an event where tens of thousands of citizens line the streets of Pyongyang to denounce the regime’s most hated enemy.
Though the North Korean government has not publicly announced its decision, the Associated Press confirmed Monday that this year’s rally would not go ahead.
The 2017 event boasted some 100,000 people crammed into Kim Il Sung Square, and kicked off a whole month of festivities centered on North Korea’s hatred of the U.S. — a politically charged antipathy that dates back to the Korean War.
However, detente has broken out between the two countries in recent months, culminating in the high-profile summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore earlier this month that led to a declaration promising to work toward denuclearization.
News of the summit was covered widely in North Korea’s tightly controlled state media, including the production of a 42-minute documentary about Kim’s diplomacy.
North Korean state media has also been far more deferential toward Trump in recent missives mirroring the U.S. president’s own warm words toward Kim since the meeting took place.
However, denuclearization remains a sticking point.
While Trump has been crowing that the threat from North Korea has now been removed, North Korean media has avoided mention of the issue.
A U.S. defense official told Reuters Sunday that the administration would soon be issuing “specific asks” to Kim on the matter of removing his nuclear arsenal.
“We’ll know pretty soon if they’re going to operate in good faith or not,” the official said. “There will be specific asks and there will be a specific timeline when we present the North Koreans with our concept of what implementation of the summit agreement looks like.”
There was no indication of what these “asks” would be or when they would be issued.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that there is a coordinated campaign in several North Korea’s state-run media outlets calling on the U.S. to take genuine trust-building measures in order to help build on Kim’s work to bring about peace on the peninsula.
“The North-U.S. summit was a historical breakthrough, as it terminated hostilities between the two countries and paved the ground for new bilateral relations. Both parties should make faithful efforts to implement their joint declaration," the external propaganda website Meari said in a commentary.
The White House would likely counter that the U.S. has already shown its willingness to compromise by halting military exercises with South Korea, as they were seen as provocative by Pyongyang.
Cover image: About 100,000 North Koreans attend an anti-American rally at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square on Sept. 23, 2017(Kyodo News via Getty Images)