North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, will move forward with a large-scale military parade, the day before the Winter Olympics begins in South Korea, it has been confirmed.
Dozens of long-range missiles will be displayed along a route through North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang on February 8, two diplomatic sources with information on Jong-Un’s intentions toldCNN on Wednesday.
The display of might of ‘hundreds’ of missiles and rockets would be intended ‘to scare the hell out of the Americans,’ said one of the sources.
The news comes after President Donald Trump criticized Kim Jong-Un in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He aoso celebrated North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, along with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after spending 17 months in captivity in North Korea for the attempted theft of a propaganda poster from his hotel room.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un will move forward with a large-scale military parade in North Korea, the day before the Winter Olympics begins in South Korea
The event in Pyongyang is expected to include dozens of intercontinental-range Hwasong-15 missiles, which are the same missiles that were test-fired for the first time by Kim Jong-Un’s military in late November, the sources said.
The official purpose of the parade in North Korea is the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country’s military, but officials refuse to confirm what exactly is planned for the event.
Media from outside North Korea are expected to be banned from covering the parade.
The very next day, on February 9, South Korea is due to stage the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, roughly 180 miles southeast of the armament exhibition.
This comes after President Donald Trump criticized Kim Jong-Un, who is believed to be 34, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, where he also celebrated North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, along with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after spending 17 months in captivity in North Korea for the attempted theft of a propaganda poster from his hotel room
This photo taken in April 2017 shows a vehicle carrying what appears to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Kim Jong-un (pictured) will hold a large-scale military parade, the day before the Winter Olympics begins, sources told CNN on Wednesday
A major show of military power could create anger in South Korea, which is hoping the games will be a symbol of peace and stability.
Seoul has agreed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s last-minute proposal to send a delegation to the games and will have its athletes march together with the North Korean team under a blue-and-white ‘unification flag.’
The US has supported, at least somewhat, this apparent warming of diplomatic relations between the two Koreas, fueled by the Olympics, but that could change if Kim Jong-Un’s parade is seen as a threat.
‘The ongoing US support for inter-Korean rapprochement already appears to be showing cracks and will likely be seriously tested in the event of a major DPRK ICBM [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea intercontinental ballistic missile] parade on the eve of the Olympics,’ Chad O’Carroll, managing director of the Korea Risk Group in Seoul, said.
This photo taken on April 15 in Pyongyang shows what appears to be surface-to-ship cruise missiles during a military parade
On Tuesday, Trump opted against selecting Victor Cha as the US’s ambassador to South Korea, apparently over differing views as to how best to contain the threat of war with North Korea, according to CNN.
‘The answer is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike,’ Cha, who is a professor at Georgetown University and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in an op-ed for the Washington Post, published on Tuesday.
‘Instead, there is a forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.’
He added: ‘In the land of lousy options, no strategy is perfect, but some are better than others.’
A ‘large-scale’ event showcasing the country’s armed forces and weapons will take place in the capital Pyongyang on February 8, according to Seoul’s Unification Minister. Pictured: A previous military parade in Pyongyang
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (right) is seen here on July 4, reportedly inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location, North Korean officials said while providing this photo
Trump reportedly believes a pre-emptive strike should remain on the table.
Pyongyang residents have been assembling every day in temperatures hovering around minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 15 degrees Celsius) to practice for what is expected to be a mass rally by civilians in Kim Il Sung Square, while open-source satellite imagery obtained by outside analysts suggests military units are training at an airfield on the outskirts of the city for the military parade.
Over the past past week, the area around the square itself has been sporadically closed to traffic.
The activity in Pyongyang is common before major parades or rallies, which take months to organize and can involve thousands of troops and tens of thousands of civilians assembled in the square with flags, plastic bouquets or colored cards that they raise in unison to create giant slogans visible from the square’s raised viewing area.
North Korean officials don’t normally release details in advance about such events, they say for security reasons. Major military parades are generally attended by Kim Jong Un and other top officials.
North Korea’s state-run media hinted earlier last week that an event was in the works, saying the February anniversary, which had for decades been overshadowed by another military anniversary observed on April 25, would be marked with more significance and pomp this year.
This photo taken on April 15 in Pyongyang shows ballistic missiles with a precision control guidance system on display during a military parade
Though the report did not explain why the change was being made, the news raised eyebrows because the February anniversary comes just a day ahead of the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It also comes as the North has been stepping up its verbal attacks on the United States for what it claims is an effort to ruin an easing of tensions between the capitals of North and South Korea, Pyongyang and Seoul, ahead of the Olympics.
The US has agreed to postpone joint military exercises with the South until after the Olympics and Paralympics are over, but North Korea is now demanding they be scrapped indefinitely.
The North’s media has also accused Washington of trying to provoke tensions by sending aircraft carriers, bombers and stealth fighter aircraft into the region.
North Korea’s military parades are closely scrutinized for the unveiling of new missiles or other key weaponry.
It wasn’t initially clear whether the North would soften the event out of consideration for the Olympics or, conversely, build it up into an even bigger spectacle for domestic propaganda purposes.
It’s now apparent Kim Jong-Un has chosen the latter approach,= as a slap in the face of Washington.
Kim’s parade is being lined up to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military but officials refuse to confirm what exactly is planned for the event
An analysis published January 24 by 38 North, a website affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, showed satellite images confirming a gradual buildup of troops and equipment at a mock-up of Kim Il Sung Square at the Mirim Parade Training Facility, which is on the city’s eastern outskirts, over the past few months.
The analysis, conducted by leading expert Joseph Bermudez, suggests that as of January 10 ‘considerable progress had been made assembling troops and equipment for the upcoming parade.’
It said shelters for heavy equipment had been erected. Missiles and their transporters, along with other big vehicles and equipment, often arrive closer to the date of the actual parade and more effort is made to hide them.
None have been seen yet, the report said.