Photos indicate North Korea may be preparing military parade

Feb 9, 2022, 9:03 PM
FILE - This photo provided by the North Korean government shows missiles during a military parade m...
FILE - This photo provided by the North Korean government shows missiles during a military parade marking the ruling party congress, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 14, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Satellite photos show hundreds of people in formation at a training ground in North Korea’s capital in a possible sign the country is preparing for a military parade amid heightened animosities over its recent missile tests.

The 38 North website, which specializes in North Korea studies, said Wednesday the Feb. 5 imagery taken on the Mirim airfield in Pyongyang — where rehearsals for past military parades occurred — likely signals a forthcoming parade.

North Korea often marks important anniversaries with parades and other displays, and the website noted several upcoming occasions, such as next week’s 80th birthday of Kim Jong Il, the late father of current leader Kim Jong Un, and April’s 110th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of Kim Jong Un.

The three Kims, who have been ruling North Korea successively since its foundation in 1948, are the subject of a strong personality cult among its 25 million people. The birthdays of the two late Kims are the country’s most important holidays, and its powerful Politburo recently decided to celebrate their upcoming birth anniversaries “with splendor” and make them as “the great festivals of victory and glory to shine long in the annals of the country.”

North Korea hasn’t disclosed what events it would hold to mark the upcoming birth anniversaries. But on past birthdays and other key state anniversaries, North Korea often paraded goose-stepping soldiers and new weapons systems through a main Pyongyang plaza to bolster unity and intimidate its rivals.

Last month, North Korea carried out a spate of missile tests in what some experts called an attempt to boost its weapons arsenals and pressure the Biden administration to make concessions such as sanctions relief. It appears to be pausing the tests during the Winter Olympics in China, its most important ally and economic lifeline, but observers say North Korea could test bigger weapons after the Olympics.

In a call Thursday, the defense chiefs of the United States, South Korea and Japan emphasized that North Korea’s recent missile tests “are destabilizing to regional security” and they committed to continue efforts to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release. It said the U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan and South Korea is “ironclad.”

During the call, South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook described the North’s tests as “a direct and serious threat to us” and said Seoul would bolster its own military capability and military alliance with Washington, according to his ministry.

It’s not clear whether the latest purported parade preparation was related to Kim Jong Il’s birthday or Kim Il Sung’s.

The 38 North website said training at the Mirim airfield in recent years usually began one to several months ahead of the festivities. South Korea’s military said last month it had detected signs that North Korea was preparing for military parades.

Ahead of previous parades, the website said large numbers of trucks and other military vehicles were often parked in the fields around the practice area. It said such vehicles weren’t seen in the current image, indicating an upcoming event will consist largely of people or that vehicles have yet to arrive.

Today’s Top Stories


Damage from Hurricane Ian...

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
1 day ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
2 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
4 days ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
7 days ago
U.S. Capitol pictured. The House just voted on an election law...

House passes election law overhaul in response to Jan. 6

The bill, which is similar to bipartisan legislation moving through the Senate, would overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act
8 days ago
Trump pictured. A lawsuit against Trump was just filed in new york...
Associated Press

NY attorney general sues Donald Trump and his company

Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit is the culmination of the Democrat's three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Photos indicate North Korea may be preparing military parade