Armored personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers and tanks followed, with biplanes flying overhead in a "70" formation. But the only ones on show were short-range battlefield devices, the Kumsong-3 anti-ship cruise missile, and the Pongae-5 surface-to-air weapon.
Beijing is its neighbour's key diplomatic protector and trade partner, and after years in the deep freeze over the North's weapons ambitions ties have warmed rapidly this year, with Kim visiting China three times to meet President Xi Jinping.
North Korea routinely uses major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and the latest developments in missile technology.
The parties are struggling to implement a 1-1/2 page document signed by Trump and Kim in June at the first-ever summit between sitting US and North Korean leaders. But the parade on Sunday didn't include intercontinental ballistic missiles that are believed to be able to reach the continental United States.
North Korea has also invited a large group of foreign journalists to cover a military parade and other events to mark the 70th anniversary of its founding.
Unlike some past shows, however, Sunday's imagery largely left out any anti-American themes, though one portion compared worldwide sanctions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs to waves crashing against the country.
The North did show off a battery of big artillery pieces known as self-propelled guns that could be used to threaten Seoul, South Korea's capital. "So I think it will be well received".
Pyongyang residents unable to attend at the square on Sunday lined the streets around town to cheer and applaud convoys carrying the troops after they completed the parade duties.
Before this year, the "blood-forged" alliance between Korean War allies China and North Korea had been looking shaky.
During the parade, people waved balloons, flowers and flags as goose-stepping soldiers, tanks and floats passed by.
North Korea's desire to use the performance to attract global attention was clear, said Gianni Merlo, the Italian head of the worldwide Sports Press Association, who said he was invited to attend the events by the North Korean government.
"All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation", said an editorial in North Korea's party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
This year's celebrations also marked the revival of North Korea's iconic mass games after a five-year hiatus.
Mass games performed by tens of thousands of people working in precise unison take months if not years of intense preparation and training, and have not been staged since 2013.
The slogans - one of which said "all efforts on economy" - are in line with Kim's new political priority outlined earlier this year before he met Trump. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter U.S. aggression and devote his resources to raising the standard of living. Ticket sales to tourists from China and Europe are reportedly brisk despite prices that start at 100 euros and go all the way up to 800 euros for VIP seating.
An unofficial translation of its name this year is "Our Shining Nation".
However, Trump days ago praised the North Korean leader, touting him for saying he wants to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula during Trump's first term as president.