January 29, 2018 13:25
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon has claimed that it is a "coincidence" that North Korea is holding a massive military parade on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official also said the dates coincide "by chance." It is true that North Korea changed the date of the founding anniversary of its army from April 25 to Feb. 8 as long ago as 2015, but the parades have always been held in April, and this is the first one that is being held on the new date.
Some 12,000 troops are to march through Pyongyang, while its new intercontinental ballistic missiles are already waiting in hangars to be pulled through the streets. The acting U.S. ambassador to Seoul quite rightly referred to the parade as a direct challenge to the international community which also goes against the Olympic spirit of peace.
North Korea has always carefully chosen the dates of its provocations to maximize the psychological impact. It conducted three of its large ballistic missile tests on the U.S.' Independence Day. The North's first two nuclear tests were conducted just after the Obama administration started, and the third took place just after Chinese President Xi Jingping too office. The sixth nuclear test took place even as the heads of BRICs countries were meeting for a prestige summit in Beijing, and it fired a ballistic missile during the G20 Summit in China as well.
North Korea knows exactly why it is holding the parade on the eve of the Olympics opening -- it wants to bask in the limelight shining on the Korean Peninsula during the sports extravaganza. There was no "coincidence" involved at any point.
Has the government here not bent over backwards enough? When North Korea criticized South Korea’s free news media for its reporting, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman faithfully parroted the sentiment and upbraided, not the shamelessly interfering North Koreans, but the South Korean press. Apparently the South Korean press upset the bandleader of some combo that is to perform its patriotic tunes during the Olympics here, a woman called Hyon Song-wol who also happens to be an apparatchik in the murderous regime, by suggesting she might have been leader Kim Jong-un’s girlfriend. The government dutifully obeyed North Korean orders to keep reporters away from Hyon when she inspected potential venues here.
It was also South Korea that proposed, unprompted, forming a unified Korean women's ice hockey team, seriously damaging the hopes of the South Korean athletes who had qualified for the Olympics on its own merits. And it was Seoul that volunteered to postpone joint military drills with the U.S. during the games, but now says North Korea's massive military parade is no big deal. Whose side exactly is the government on?
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