The Hermit Kingdom of North Korea is preparing relentlessly to stage the ‘biggest ever’ military parade on the Workers Party’s 75th Foundation Day amid COVID-19 threat and as US elections loom near.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will reportedly stage a huge parade — mobilizing an army as large as 32,000 and arguably the biggest in the country’s history — ahead of the 75th foundation day of the nation’s ruling, and only Worker’s Party.
The world will be closely monitoring the event for any potential signs of improvement in the Hermit kingdom’s defence system despite strict economic sanctions and COVID-19.
Satellite images obtained by 38 North found preparations are going on in full swing. The Pyongyang General Hospital, which was undertaken with a mission to finish in 200 days, appears to be done, at least in the exterior (the country has a history of making unfinished buildings, ornate outside, but untouched inside).
Finishing the hospital is being seen as major propaganda in this year’s celebration.
Deployment of tourist buses and practicing troops suggests a major goose-stepping parade will be held on Saturday morning, which is yet to be officially announced by the state.
Every year, the foundation day is celebrated in great fervor, with nearly the whole of capital Pyongyang coming down on the streets to cheer and enjoy the magnificent show (and brainwash) of power, glory, and achievement to the party.
Thousands of soldiers stage inch-precise parades — including women, university students — and one-after-the-other weapons are put on a show for the North Koreans to see, which is broadcasted by the state media.
No foreign media or journalists are allowed to report on the events usually, except for tightly controlled allowances on rare and special events.
The day is a national holiday and is marked by events like a light show, art and industry exhibitions, monument visits, and other celebrations for their revered ‘Dear leaders.’
Every year, the 10th of October is marked by a grand show of power, implicit propaganda to render enmity for the West, and indoctrination of ideals that the Kim-Jong-Un party wants to imbibe in the minds of every single North Koreans.
But what is remarkable this year, unlike any others is the fact that the US elections are due weeks after the Foundations Day celebrations, and Kim-Jong-Un did not show off any intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) since he and US President Trump held a summit in Hanoi in 2018.
So the question is, will Jong-Un show off that he still has the capacity to ‘blow up’ the US mainland with missiles?
According to South Korea and US media reports, DPRK will reportedly show off new ICBM this year, after testing multiple short-range missiles in the years between 2018 and 2020.
The editor of Daily NK, a Seoul-based news agency with paid sources in the North said this year’s event is going to be huge. So much so that the North had to clear off more space for practicing the parade.
“The Pyongyang Mirim airport now has two new roads and 10 new buildings. Therefore, I think it is likely that we will see Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles [ICBMs] or Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles [SLBMs] on display at the parade this time,” Lee Sang Yong told the BBC.
He said NK will also put university students of missile development on the parade to show off their national talent of weaponry, despite strict economic sanctions.
South Korean Unification Minister, Lee In-young told Reuters that if the NK finally displays a new missile it would be a “low-intensity demonstration of force” which would be less provocative than a nuclear test.
He also said it not always that the NK will show off weapons of mass-destruction targeting the world. It has systematic propaganda machinery and special days are when the party reinstates its people’s faith in the system, albeit questionable.
Washington’s communication with Pyongyang has stalled in recent times and North Korea has signaled impatience.
After Trump tested COVID-19 positive, Kim Jong-Un reportedly sent him a sympathetic message and wished him a speedy recovery, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
But amid a global pandemic, it is not just the tensions of wars that threaten the upcoming parade in North Korea. The major event that will bring close millions in the city center threatens of a major super-spreader-like event that can wreak havoc.
North Korea has not reported any COVID-19 cases, or has at least refused to report any, and has enacted strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Last month North Korea announced a shoot-at-sight order to anyone trying to infiltrate the strict border controls in the Sino-Korean and the South-north Korean frontiers, We The World reported earlier.
One South Korean was killed the last month while he tried to deflect to the North and flee while countering. The North Korean army shot and doused the body before throwing it in the sea.
Kim Jong-Un although issued a rare apology to South Korean President Moon saying the event should not have taken place.
North Korea, notorious for its secretive regime, is now more than ever cut from the rest of the world amid pandemic. Business exchange with its key ally China has been nearly stopped, both for people and material.
PPE kits and other medical equipments from China are reportedly waiting in the fronters for entry in the North, but are prohibited in the wake of the pandemic.
Plus, in recent months the impoverished state has been battered with extreme weather conditions, which has rendered many homeless and destroyed crops. Million of North Koreans suffer from chronic poverty and deprivation.
The effects of the pandemic have had far-reaching consequences, destabilizing even the most powerful nations, and it goes without saying the already-impoverished state of North Korea will be affected.
But the extreme conditions will not deter the North Koreans from participating in large gatherings that could potentially be a massive disaster of COVID-19 spread like wildfires.
Note: the story has been updated with more information in the body text.