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N. Korea prepares for largest-ever military parade: sources

All Headlines 14:07 September 26, 2010

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is gearing up for an unprecedented-scale military parade apparently to mark an upcoming national event, multiple government sources here said Sunday.

A number of troops, missiles, armored vehicles and artillery rockets have been converging on the Mirim Airbase in Pyongyang since July 12, while as many as 10,000 soldiers have rehearsed for a parade that will be inspected by leader Kim Jong-il, the sources said, requesting anonymity.

The sources said it may become North Korea's largest-ever military parade in that the number of troops mobilized is more than double the size in previous events.

"Judging from the current preparations, it is likely to be a large-scale event different from previous years," said a source monitoring North Korea affairs.

The North's powerful Workers' Party plans to convene a rare conference of representatives on Tuesday and will also celebrate the 65th founding anniversary on Oct. 10.

Another source said that among weapons to be deployed at the air base is movable missile launch pads, which indicate the secretive North may show off its various missiles during the parade.

"We are not in the stage yet to talk specifically about equipment but missile-related equipment is on display," the source said.

A North Korean defector, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said about 5,000 troops usually take part in parades organized by the North's military.

"Given the scale of the event this time, however, chances are high that it will be arranged by the National Defense Commission and attended by Kim Jong-il," he said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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