North Korea: Massive crowds greet Kim Jong Un on founding father's birthday, but no military hardware on display

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been greeted by massive crowds during celebrations to mark the birthday of his grandfather who founded the country.

But state media did not show any military hardware on display, nor mention any speeches or comments made by him.

North Korea's Supreme Leader was in Pyongyang for the The Day of the Sun, which honours the secretive state's founder, Kim II Sung, who was his grandfather.

Kim was pictured waving from a balcony looking over Kim Il Sung Square, where thousands of people carrying red plastic flowers and floats with political slogans marched below in a choreographed display of loyalty to the Kim family, state media said on Saturday.

Later, young people performed a mass dance in the square as fireworks launched from a nearby riverbank lit up the night sky.

Satellite imagery suggests preparations for a parade of missiles and other military hardware have been made in recent weeks, which may be displayed on 25 April, when the country celebrates the founding anniversary of North Korea's army.

Although there was no mention of speeches by the leader, Ri Il Hwan, a member of the ruling Workers' Party's Politburo, issued a call for loyalty, saying that North Koreans will "always emerge victorious" under Kim's guidance.

Kim Il Sung's birthday is the most important national holiday in North Korea, where the Kim family has ruled under a strong personality cult since the nation was founded in 1948.

This week's celebrations marking the 110th anniversary of his birth came as his grandson revives nuclear brinkmanship aimed at forcing the US to accept the idea of North Korea as a nuclear power and remove crippling economic sanctions.

There is also expectation that Pyongyang will further escalate its weapons testing in the coming weeks or months, possibly including a resumption of nuclear explosive tests or test-flying missiles over Japan, as it attempts to force a response from Washington, where the Biden administration is preoccupied with Russia's war in Ukraine.

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