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North Korea To Hold Military Parade Ahead Of Winter Olympics
Military parades in previous years have involved the show of armoured vehicles
February 8th, 2018 | 10:25 AM | 1641 views
North Korea is due to hold its 70th anniversary military parade, a day ahead of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Pyongyang's annual parade, marking the founding of its armed forces, has been held in April for 40 years.
However, the country's state media announced earlier this year that the date had been changed to 8 February.
North Korea has dismissed criticism of its plans, saying no-one had the right to take issue.
"It is a custom and very basic common sense that any country in the world takes the founding of its military very seriously and celebrates it with extravagant events," said the ruling Workers' Party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun.
The US has said it would rather the parade not take place as the focus should be on the Games.
According to experts, North Korea is expected to showcase its long-range missiles.
South Korean government officials say that some 13,000 troops and 200 pieces of equipment have been spotted near an airport in Pyongyang in what appears to be a rehearsal.
Sending a signal
This year's celebration will mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army, which was established on 8 February 1948. Pyongyang previously held its main military celebration on 25 April.
According to professor Robert Kelly of Busan University, Pyongyang's decision to hold the parade earlier is politically motivated.
"It's going to be gigantic, it's a day before the Olympics - that kind of sends a signal," he said.
"Even though South Korea can have all these foreigners come to its country, this big, peaceful exciting event with all this global attention - you know everybody still has to pay attention [to the North]."
However, the main organiser of the Pyeongchang Olympics has said that the parade will not affect the "dynamics" of the Olympic Games.
Lee Hee-beom added that all 193 UN member states, including North Korea, have supported the UN Olympic Truce Resolution for the Winter Games, which is held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.
Under the truce, which begins seven days before the opening of the Winter Games and runs until the seventh day after the closing of the Winter Paralympics, all UN member states are urged to stop all hostilities.
The Winter Games will run from 9 to 25 February in South Korea.
courtesy of BBC NEWS
by BBC NEWS
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