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Analysis: Tears don't mean Kim Jong Un is softening. Just look at his military hardware

October 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

On October 10, Kim Jong Un -- North Korea's notorious dictator -- became one of the few world leaders to publicly shed tears while apologizing to his people for the hardships they've had to endure this year.

(CNN)On October 10, Kim Jong Un -- North Korea's notorious dictator -- became one of the few world leaders to publicly shed tears while apologizing to his people for the hardships they've had to endure this year.

While many blame North Korea's inefficient command economy for its failure to improve living standards, the sanctions in place punishing Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs have made it almost impossible for the country to improve its economic prospects.

Kim's dogged pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has been sold to North Koreans as a means to ensure their safety from outside forces, but they are the ones largely paying the bill.

Though North Korea showed off some impressive conventional armaments, the highlights of the parade were strategic weapons: the two ballistic missile frames put on display near the end of the parade.

The latter -- which appears to be one of the biggest missiles ever built -- is likely the "new strategic weapon" Kim promised in January that North Korea would unveil in 2020.

The conclusion drawn from the military display is clear: North Korea is hard at work on its weapons advancement, even if it has scaled back the testing of weapons that will provoke Washington -- long-range missiles and nuclear bombs.

Evans Revere, a former State Department expert, said the dialed-down rhetoric of Kim's speech when juxtaposed to the weapons display this month makes it clear that "Kim Jong Un understands that the essence of the deal that he has with Trump continues to be no long-range ballistic missile testing and no nuclear testing.

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