Sunday, February 4, 2018

DPRK work on military parade keeps expanding

The Japan News; see also (1)

Image from article, with caption: A satellite image shows North Korean troops and military vehicles that are mobilized for a military parade drill in Pyongyang.

WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — New satellite images have found a “noticeable increase” in troops and vehicles at a military parade training site at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea watch website 38 North reported on Wednesday.

The images as of Sunday showed “at least 12,000 troops and 110 artillery pieces, tanks, armored personnel carriers and armored fighting vehicles practicing on the training grounds,” according to the website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

They indicate that “military parade preparation and training continues to gradually expand” at the Mirim Parade Training Facility, the website said.

But it also said that there are “no signs of ballistic missile or unmanned aerial vehicle launchers,” which, given previous practices, are believed to be “the last to arrive — usually only a week or so before the parade,” it said.

North Korea is widely expected to hold a military parade on Feb. 8, the day before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“We would prefer that this parade not occur” on that date, Steven Goldstein, U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“It is our hope — and I know the hope of South Korea — that the North Koreans, who agreed to send people to the Games to participate, will join with all the nations of the world in celebrating the athletes,” Goldstein said.

“Fundamentally, the Olympic Games are about the athletes, and nothing should be occurring which interferes with that,” he said.

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