North Korea marks the main anniversary but no word on the military parade
Korea | Security | East Asia
Credit: via Kyodo News AP
North Korea celebrated the milestone birthday of its late founder on Friday with mass dances, fireworks and a call for greater loyalty to his grandson and current leader Kim Jong Un, but amid growing tensions over it, there was no word on the expected military parade. Nuclear program.
Kim Il Sung’s 110th birthday comes after North Korea conducted weapons tests in recent months, including its first full-range intercontinental ballistic missile launch since 2017. Experts say North Korea aims to expand its arsenal and increase pressure on the United States. States when nuclear diplomacy is suspended.
“Let’s work harder on the loyalty of our esteemed ally Kim Jong Un and realize the dream of our great president (Kim Il Sung) to finally build a powerful socialist state on that path,” the northern state-run website Uriminzokkiri said in a statement.
Kim Il Sung’s birthday is the most important national holiday in North Korea, where the Kim family has ruled under a strong personality cult since the nation’s founding in 1948. Kim Jong Un became the third generation leader after the late death of his father, Kim Jong Il. 2011.
Kim Jong Un has pushed for the advancement of its nuclear weapons while reviving the economy. But the epidemic has closed the border, a combination of U.S.-led sanctions and its own mismanagement has made it one of the most difficult moments of a decade in power.
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On Friday, residents of the capital Pyongyang bowed and placed a bouquet of flowers near the bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
State TV later showed thousands of young people – men dressed in Western-style white shirts and women in colorful traditional Korean attire – dancing in Pyongyang Plaza as fireworks lit up the nearby riverbank illuminating the night sky. The dancers circled a group of artists holding yellow flowers to symbolize the Workers’ Party of Korea – a hammer, a brush and a sickle.
North Korea often marks the state’s major anniversaries with huge military parades featuring newly built missiles, especially during anniversaries ending at zero and five. Commercial satellites have previously signaled visible rehearsals for military parades, such as those gathered in formation at Pyongyang Plaza, where such events have taken place in the past.
After North Korea’s ICBM test last month, South Korean and US officials said Pyongyang could soon launch new provocations, such as additional ICBM testing, a rocket or even a nuclear bomb test to put a spy satellite into orbit, which would be the seventh of its kind. .
The South Korean military recently said it had received indications that North Korea was rebuilding a tunnel at a nuclear test site that it partially demolished in 2018 before entering into currently inactive nuclear talks with the United States.
“I think they will conduct a nuclear test when it is finished restoring its nuclear testing facility,” said Moon Seong-muk, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “There is no reason to bring them back to the test ground if they do not plan to use it for bomb testing.”
Sung Kim, the top US official on North Korea, is due to visit South Korea next week to discuss the international community’s response to North Korea’s recent missile tests.
North Korea has recently resumed its trademark harsh rhetoric against its rivals. One of his international affairs critics labeled President Joe Biden “an old man in old age,” while Kim’s powerful sister, Kim Yoo-jung, called South Korea’s defense minister “a man like dust” and threatened to destroy South Korea with nuclear strikes.