Troops, rockets and tanks arrived in North Korea’s historic Kim Il Sung square on Thursday in an eagerly awaited parade of military power on the eve of the South Korean Winter Olympics .
The choreographed exhibition involved hundreds of soldiers marching in unison, planes flying overhead and four of Pyongyang’s newest and most sophisticated missiles, the Hwasong-15. The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, observed him from a higher balcony.
The parade is celebrated to commemorate the day when Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, formed the Korean People’s Army, and it was when the celebrations began, in South Korea, for the Games in the tourist city of Pyeongchang.
Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, arrived by limousine and went out on a red carpet. Kim arrived at the military parade last year in the same way, but without his wife at his side.
Dressed in a black hat, the North Korean leader spoke from the balcony, addressing his people about the scourge of imperialism and the need to address it.
Kim said the military parade would show the world that North Korea “has become a world-class military power.”
“As long as imperialism is present on Earth and the hostile policy of the United States against North Korea continues, the Korean People’s Army mission will be the strong sword that protects the country and the people, and peace can never change,” he said. the North Korean leader.
“The final victory belongs to our party and to the people who are holding the firearms of the revolution,” Kim added.
After the speech, what appeared to be a group of North Korea’s last intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) were placed on top of the mobile launchers. However, the missiles themselves may not be viable; Some believe that Pyongyang does not fire missiles for fear of an accident.
Unlike last year’s parade, North Korea did not present to the world any new missile system.
“This was a much more substantiated military parade in the sense that these are real systems that have actually proven,” said Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the Middlebury Center for International Studies at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
An official with the Ministry of Defense of South Korea told CNN that, compared to last year, the content and scale of the parade “seem to have been reduced”.