North Korea Plans for Military Parade Neglecting Coronavirus Concern
North Koreans wearing medical masks have accumulated in the capital of Pyongyang, according to state media. This happened ahead of what is anticipated to be a massive military parade on Saturday, possibly exhibiting the country’s latest ballistic missiles.
Unveiling New Strategic Weapons
The holiday marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. The events consist of concerts, art and industry exhibitions, a light show, visits to monuments, and ceremonies to mark the completion of construction projects.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency pointed towards unidentified sources as saying there were speculations that the North’s state television was getting ready to broadcast a parade, though it is not evident whether it would be live. Leader Kim Jong Un is also expected to deliver an address, Yonhap said.
Officials in South Korea and the United States believe that North Korea could utilize the parade to boast about a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“There is a possibility that North Korea will unveil new strategic weapons, such as new intercontinental ballistic missiles or submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to draw attention at a time when its economic achievements have been sluggish,” the South’s Unification Ministry, which manages relations with the North, said on Thursday.
Unification Minister Lee In-young explained to lawmakers that exhibiting a new missile could be a “low-intensity demonstration of force” ahead of the U.S. presidential election that is going to be less provocative as compared to launch or nuclear test.
Photography is Prohibited!
Kim has not exhibited ICBMs at a parade since he first met U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018; however, their talks on unwinding the North’s nuclear and missile programs have hampered and Pyongyang has shown increasing impatience with Washington.
“The display of new ICBMs would signal that North Korea was moving on from this strategy and may indicate that North Korea will resume long-range missile testing,” according to Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
Foreign diplomats in Pyongyang, who are often invited to observe on such holidays, were directed not to approach or click photographs of this weekend’s events, according to NK News, a Seoul-based website that keeps a check on North Korea.
North Korean state media outlets exhibited photos of big crowds of delegates and other visitors in masks as they arrived for holiday events.
North Korea has not registered any confirmed cases of the coronavirus; however, the government has implemented strict border controls and quarantine measures. Analysts claim that an outbreak could be cataclysmic for the politically and economically secluded country.