January 24, 2018 09:26
North Korea plans a massive military parade on Feb. 8, a day before the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, after arbitrarily changing the army anniversary date.
The same day, the North's Samjiyon Orchestra will give a performance in Gangneung in South Korea, fueling speculation that the North is determined to hijack the Olympics for propaganda purposes.
The politburo's decision to change the date of the army anniversary from April 25 to Feb. 8 was officially announced on the front page of the official Rodong Sinmun.
There is a fine distinction between the two anniversaries, the earlier marking the founding of the People's Army and the later that of the People's Liberation Army.
Feb. 8, 1948 was treated as the founding day of modern North Korea's army until 1978, when it was changed to April 25, the day when regime founder Kim Il-sung allegedly organized an anti-Japanese partisan guerrilla army in 1932.
The regime also stages a massive military parade to celebrate Kim Il-sung's birthday on April 15 every year, while the army anniversary is marked every five years.
The North Korean army is already rehearsing by mobilizing some 12,000 troops and about 200 pieces of equipment at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, according to a government source here.
The regime is also preparing an air show with SU-25 fighter jets, AN-2 low-altitude infiltration aircraft, and H-500 helicopters.
It is also likely to show off one or both of the intercontinental ballistic missiles it tested last year as well as a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
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