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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean authorities have confirmed a military parade will take place as part of a series of celebratory events to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
An official document, seen by NK News on Monday and sent to international organizations and embassies in Pyongyang, says that a total of five events will be held to celebrate the September 9 holiday.
A military parade and a mass rally of Pyongyang residents, as well as the expected “Glorious Country” mass games, are included as two of the five events.
Invitees will also be able to observe a torch parade, “national meeting,” and a celebratory event, the document shows.
Time and location information of the events will be confirmed at a later date, the document says, once invitees confirm which events they would like to attend.
North Korea’s most recent military parade in February saw the North Korean leader attend a display of Hwasong-15 (KN-22) and 14 (KN-20) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), as well as the intermediate range Hwasong-12 (KN-17) and solid-fuel missile Pukguksong-2 (KN-15).
Any similar ICBM parade would likely prove controversial, given North Korea’s recent and public commitments to denuclearization.
The February 2018 parade was, however, a toned down affair when compared to last year’s April 15 event, though neither were attended by any high-profile foreign delegations.
China, however, did dispatch a high-level delegation led by Liu Yunshan, then member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, to a military parade in October 2015 to mark the 70th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
And while no official delegation list has yet been confirmed, some reports have suggested that Chinese President Xi Jinping will make an appearance at a military parade.
Should the reports be accurate, the trip would represent the first by a Chinese leader since then-President Hu Jintao visited the DPRK in 2005.
NK News’s sister outlet NK Pro previously reported that preparations for a military parade appeared to be ongoing at the Mirim airfield in southeast Pyongyang.
Monday saw both the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) and Ministry of National Defense (MND) say Seoul was aware that Pyongyang was preparing for a military parade.
When asked if Seoul believed ICBMs would appear at Sunday’s event, ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) spokesperson Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon on Monday declined to comment.
Unification ministry spokesperson Baik Tae-hyun on Monday said Pyongyang had not requested Seoul dispatch a delegation to the military parade.
Travel company Koryo Tours last week said the so-called “Glorious Country” mass games events will continue until October 10, though North Korean state-run outlets last week reported that the performance will run until the end of September.
Featured Image: File Photo, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)