February 09, 2018 09:30
North Korea held a military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of its army, just a day before the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang open in South Korea.
During the parade, it displayed the Hwasong-14 and -15 intercontinental ballistic missiles that are thought capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
But the regime did not show off other new weapons like the Pukkuksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile, and the parade itself was rather smaller than in previous years. Perhaps it was deliberately scaled down as a gesture of goodwill to South Korea and rapid rapprochement ahead of the Olympics.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a speech at the parade said, "We will have to prevent aggressors from attempting to infringe or ridicule our dignity and sovereignty even by 0.001 millimeter."
North Korean media aired 100 minutes of recorded footage of the parade in the evening, the first time it was not broadcast live since Kim came to power. The actual parade was also about 70 minutes shorter than a similar one on April 15 last year to mark regime founder Kim Il-sung's 105th birth birthday.
But still some 13,000 troops and 50,000 spectators were mobilized for the event.
Kim Jong-gak, a former minister of the People's Armed Forces who has reportedly replaced the recently purged Hwang Pyong-so as the chief of the Army politburo, was seen standing on Kim Jong-un's right.
Kim was dressed in a peculiar black bowler hat and overcoat and sported horn-rimmed glasses when he read his speech. His wife Ri Sol-ju and senior party and military officials were ensconced in the royal seats on both sides of the leadership platform. It was the first time the North Korean first lady has attended a military parade.
State TV called Ri "Mrs." instead of "comrade." Kim's younger sister Yo-jong, who is coming to South Korea as a member of a North Korean delegation to the Olympics on Friday, was moving around behind while Kim was reading his speech.
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