Behind the performers was the real star: the Hwasong-14 missile, shown on a jumbo screen heading skyward. Launched on July 4, the nation’s first intercontinental ballistic missile gave the region—as well as the US, which was celebrating its Independence Day—the jitters. The missile landed in the Sea of Japan after being launched on a very high trajectory from North Korean soil. Experts later determined that it could have hit Alaska on a standard trajectory.

Also performing on the big night were a dance troupe, the national choir, and the all-female Chongbong Band. Among the songs performed were ”Song of Hwasong Rocket,” “Make Others Envy Us,” and “Toast to the Victors.” The audience included military brass, missile engineers, and Kim himself, for whom the audience made a thunderous applause along with shouts of joy.

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