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N. Korea set for military parade for party anniversary, instead of missile launch

2015/10/02 11:48

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is likely to go for an ostentatious military parade for the celebration of the ruling party's founding anniversary later this month, instead of a much-trumpeted launch of long-range missile, according to officials on Friday.

North Korea is expected to celebrate the landmark 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers' Party of Korea on Oct. 10 with unusual events to show off its military might as the country has often done on major occasions.

Launch of a long-range missile has been the most speculated event, but officials said North Korea has so far not shown any signs of preparations for the launch before the anniversary date.

Instead, the country is putting together a military parade at an airfield in Pyongyang, which may involve new types of weapons.

"Various equipment and troops like combat jets, artillery equipment and missiles have been deployed to the Mirim Airport in Pyongyang. The North is preparing a parade event in commemoration of the party foundation," a government official said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered "the biggest-ever" military parade for this year's anniversary.

The military event may involve a small-scale air show as well as a display of a new set of weapons including multiple rocket launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles and stealth very slender vessels, called VSV, according to other military officials.

The military is also weighing the possibility of the North unveiling a new type of missile.

The parade may come in lieu of a long-range missile launch expected for the celebration later this month, with the country showing yet no signs of a missile launch.

"South Korea is closely watching North Korea's move. But there has been no sign of an imminent launch," said another government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The North has not taken its usual step of notifying the International Maritime Organization (IMO) or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of launch activities, a process the country takes before firing a rocket.

Given that preparations for a rocket launch, such as fuel injection, usually take seven to 10 days, experts said it would be difficult for the North to launch a missile before the anniversary,

pbr@yna.co.kr

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angloinfo.com