August 10, 2018 11:53
North Korea is making preparations for a massive parade ahead of the 70th anniversary of regime founding on Sept. 9.
Several hundreds of North Korean troops have recently been practicing a parade at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, a government source here said on Thursday. The airport is about 7 km from Kim Il-sung Square, where the parade will be held.
No movement of any missile launch vehicle has been detected yet, but troops and equipment are moving in the direction of Pyongyang.
The regime often holds massive parades to mark major anniversaries, such as the birthdays of regime founder Kim Il-sung and former leader Kim Jong-il, and the founding anniversary of the Workers Party.
The regime has regularly displayed new weapons or missiles during these parades, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, but amid the current flurry of diplomacy that is unlikely this year.
"The North probably won't display an ICBM that can reach the U.S. mainland while talks with the U.S. are going on," a government official here speculated.
Instead, the regime is expected to make a show of dismantling the Sohae missile test site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province on the occasion of its founding anniversary. The event would be a good opportunity for it to show off its willingness to denuclearize to international guests and the media.
Other planned events include the queasy mass games mobilizing some 100,000 people who hop around and throw shapes in unison in conditions that have been widely criticized as human rights abuses.
South Korean and U.S. surveillance satellites have detected tens of thousands of North Koreans practicing at the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang.
The mass games are a draw for some tourists, especially from China, and the regime is selling package tours and has invited foreign leaders.
At the ASEAN Regional Forum on Aug. 4, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho complained that the U.S. is pressuring other countries into not sending high-level delegations to the celebrations.
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