After a June meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore and its third summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in due in Pyongyang later this month, the North is keen to send a different message to the past.
He visited Pyongyang in July, after which North Korea accused him of making "unilateral and gangster-like demands for denuclearization". In fact, it has been North Korea's longstanding national strategy to use the term "denuclearization" to camouflage its true intentions and to realize its strategic objectives: weakening the South Korea-US alliance, and evicting American forces from the Korean peninsula.
This comes in marked contrast to similar events in April a year ago and in February, which saw the North display both its Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICBMs.
Under Kim's one-man rule, the country has also been accused of widespread human rights abuses, with a United Nations report past year estimating between 80,000 and 120,000 people are held in prison camps.
Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are to meet for the first time ever as the Pyongyang boss was invited to Russian Federation on the dawn of the 70th anniversary of North Korea.
The displays - overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, the third member of his family to rule the country - are crucial to Korea-watchers, who observe them closely for clues about its latest advances.
After weeks of speculation that Chinese President Xi Jinping may make his first visit to Pyongyang on Sunday, Beijing announced on Tuesday the Chinese delegation would instead be led by parliament chief Li Zhanshu.
The focus on the military and civilian sectors was not new to celebrations of North Korea's founding.
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At one point jets trailing red, white and blue smoke - the colors of the North Korean flag - roared above the Juche Tower, the stone monument to Kim Il Sung's political philosophy. "So I think it will be well received".
North Korea showcased its latest weaponry and best goose-stepping soldiers Sunday as the reclusive nation marked its 70 anniversary with a military parade at a time when it is under worldwide pressure to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
"It looks like the North Koreans really tried to tone down the military nature of this", said Chad O'Carroll, managing director of Korea Risk Group.
In April, Kim declared that the North's development of nuclear weapons had been completed and "socialist economic construction" would be the new strategic priority.
The Pentagon estimates that almost 7,700 US troops are unaccounted for from the war - among them 5,300 believed to have been killed north of the 38th parallel, which largely follows the boundary between North and South Korea.
The events, especially the photogenic Mass Games, offer North Korea a chance to raise foreign currency from thousands of worldwide visitors pouring into the capital, at a time when tourism remains one of the few remaining reliable sources of income amid United Nations sanctions targeting 90 percent of its $3 billion annual exports. This year's spectacle - tickets start at just over $100 and go up to more than $800 per seat - also has a strong economic theme.
The joint letter follows the recent resumption of temporary reunions of relatives from the two Koreas separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and comes days after top South Korean security officials returned from a meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.