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(3rd LD) N. Korea appears to have staged massive military parade at dawn: S. Korean military

All News 13:50 October 10, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 9 paras, photo)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appeared to have staged a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang early Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

"Signs have been detected that North Korea conducted a military parade at the Kim Il-sung square at dawn by mobilizing a large number of equipment and personnel," the JCS said in a brief statement.

"South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities have been analyzing (the event), including the possibility that it could be the main event, (not a rehearsal)," it added.

Exactly when the parade was held is not yet known, though sources said it appears to have begun before 4 a.m. It is also not immediately known if leader Kim Jong-un attended the event and what kinds of weapons were displayed.

North Korea has been expected to roll out "new strategic weapons," including a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), that Kim pledged to show off in his New Year's Day message amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.

The North tends to mark every fifth and 10th anniversary with larger-scale events, such as military provocations, including missile launches and parades of troops, newly developed strategic weapons and other military hardware.

"We are analyzing details of the weaponry that Pyongyang displayed today," a JCS officer said. "No unusual movements by the North Korean military have been detected."

The North's state media stayed mum on the event, and the Korean Central Broadcasting Station did not mention any public events, including a military parade, to be broadcast in its daily schedule Saturday.

Initially, there was a possibility that the Korean Central Television could air the parade live, but some sources said that the state-run broadcaster could record the parade and air it Sunday.

The North last aired a military parade live in April 2017, when it showcased a new ICBM and diverse types of weapons amid heightened tensions with the U.S.

"Instead of the blaze of publicity, North Korea seems to be trying to manage the situation ahead of the U.S. elections," professor Kim Young-jun of the Korea National Defense University said.

This photo, released April 16, 2017, by the Rodong Sinmun, a daily of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, shows presumed-to-be new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) disclosed for the first time at a military parade in Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 105th birth anniversary of the late founder of North Korea Kim Il-sung the previous day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
In this file photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves during a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Sept. 9, 2018, to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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