N.Korea Prepares Firepower Demo for Kim Il-sung's Birthday

North Korea is preparing for a massive firepower demonstration by mobilizing multiple rocket launchers for regime founder Kim Il-sung's birthday on Tuesday and the North Korean Army's anniversary on April 25.

The exercise is to replace the usual interminable parade.

"There are no signs of the North preparing for a parade at Mirim Airport or Sunan Airport in Pyongyang," a government source here said. "So it's unlikely that there'll be a massive parade either on Kim Il-sung's birthday or on army founding day."

North Korean troops pledge allegiance to leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the second anniversary of his election as chairman of the National Defense Commission in this photo from the official Rodong Sinmun. North Korean troops pledge allegiance to leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the second anniversary of his election as chairman of the National Defense Commission in this photo from the official Rodong Sinmun.

Instead the North is gathering artillery pieces like MRLs and self-propelled guns near Pyongyang, the source said. "We're watching closely because we think the regime will probably carry out a massive firepower demonstration as a show of force around Friday," when annual South-Korea-U.S. military drills come to a close.

During the largest-ever parade on Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday in April 2012, the regime unveiled a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, though it is unclear whether it was a mock-up.

Last year, the regime carried out a huge parade on July 27 to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice instead of Kim's birthday or army founding day.

Military authorities here believe that the North will likely carry out the firepower demonstration or launch medium or short-range missiles in response to a joint South Korea-U.S. firepower demonstration in northern Gyeonggi Province and a joint aerial training exercise dubbed "Max Power" last Friday.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 15, 2014 11:26 KST