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N.K. likely to make provocations around key anniversaries in April: experts

All News 09:00 April 02, 2017

SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is likely to make provocative acts in April as a host of key anniversaries slated for this month could be used as a good excuse to show off its nuclear and missile capabilities, experts said Sunday.

North Korea usually holds big military events or parades at anniversaries whose final numbers end in a five or a zero. The North's 2017 calendar is full of such anniversaries, in particular, in April.

As the country has conducted nuclear tests and launched a long-range rocket around its key anniversaries, there is a high possibility that Pyongyang could stage provocative acts this month, analysts said.

The biggest holiday of the country is the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung, which falls on April 15. The repressive regime celebrates the founder's birthday, known as the Day of the Sun in the North, in a festive mode.

This image captured from footage of North Korea's state-run broadcaster on April 15, 2012, shows North Korea holding a military parade at a plaza in Pyongyang on the 100th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung. (Yonhap)

On April 11, North Korea will convene a major parliamentary meeting, the first assembly session since the country's leader Kim Jong-un was elected the chairman of a new state body last year.

At the meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly held in June 2016, the country created the State Affairs Commission (SAC), which replaced the National Defense Commission (NDC), a key organ under the regime of his late father Kim Jong-il.

North Korea will mark the fifth anniversary of the current leader being elected the first secretary of the NDC on April 13. Kim Jong-un assumed power in late 2011 following the sudden death of his father.

The Korean People's Army, North Korea's military, will mark the 85th anniversary of its creation on April 25.

North Korea is known to be preparing for a massive military parade at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang in a bid to show off its military prowess at the upcoming anniversary.

The country's last military parade, the largest ever, was held on Oct. 10, 2015, the 70th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

The North's military parades are closely watched by outside experts to get a glimpse of the North's latest missile programs and other new military equipment.

North Korea may put its strategic missiles on display, such as a newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), called the Pukguksong-2, at the parade, analysts said.

"To maximize the festive mood of the April anniversaries, North Korea is likely to carry out provocative acts, such as a nuclear test," said Chang Cheol-un, a researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Kyungnam University.

This photo provided by Japan's Kyodo News on Oct. 10, 2015, shows North Korea holding a massive military parade at the 70th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. (Yonhap)


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