Recent satellite imagery has revealed troops are rehearsing in Pyongyang with the expectation that new strategic weapons will be exhibited.
North Korea was due to hold a major military parade on Saturday, possibly showing new strategic weapons, but there was no immediate indication that state television would broadcast the event live.
North Korea is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party with a series of concerts and events.
An official at the South Korean Unification Ministry, which deals with North Korean affairs, said the government is following developments but there is no evidence of a speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or a military parade being broadcast.
For weeks, commercial satellite imagery has shown thousands of North Korean soldiers marching, and South Korean officials said the north could use a parade to unveil a new ICBM or submarine missile (SLBM).
An annotated satellite image shows the Mirim Parade Training Ground and troop formations practicing on a replica of Kim Il Sung Square ahead of the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang [Airbus Defence & Space/38 North/Pleiades © CNES 2020, Distribution Airbus DS/Handout via Reuters]The last time North Korea televised a military parade live was in 2017 when it featured many large ICBMs amid mounting tensions with the United States.
ICBMs were shown again in February 2018, but international media were not allowed to watch. Shortly thereafter, Kim began meeting international leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump and no major missiles have been issued since.
Denuclearization talks with Washington have failed, and South Korean officials said Thursday that Kim could use the military parade ahead of the November US presidential election as a “low intensity” show of force.
In a congratulatory message to Kim on the anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he intended to defend, consolidate and expand relations with North Korea, state media said on Saturday.