N.Korea displays most advanced ICBM at military parade

Source
Global Times
Editor
Li Jiayao
Time
2018-02-09
This screen grab taken from North Korea's KCTV on Thursday shows members of North Korea's military taking part in a parade, with missiles being displayed, in Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. Photo: AFP

North Korea displayed its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile at a military parade on Thursday, one day ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Experts said the event shows that Pyongyang has no intention of giving up its nuclear and missile programs, and that the peace process of the peninsula remains uncertain.

North Korea celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of its Korean People's Army with a massive military parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. According to state-run television, the country's leader Kim Jong-un attended the ceremony and delivered a keynote speech.

"We have destroyed the enemy's risk-taking provocations at every move," Kim said in the speech, Reuters reported.

During the parade, North Korea showed off its advanced missiles, including the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and Pukkuksong-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

"These missiles are the latest achievements of North Korea's missile program. Compared to last year's military parade, the weapons showcased this year are more advanced. Kim wants to deliver a clear message to the world that North Korea's identity as a nuclear power is certain and unshakable, so asking Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs is unrealistic," said Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator.

The opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be held on Friday, one day after the parade.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will lunch with Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un, when he meets North Korea's Olympic delegation on Saturday, CNN reported.

Analysts believe that the timing of the military parade also delivered a political message on the situation on the peninsula and inter-Korean ties.

"North Korea treats the Winter Olympics seriously, so much so that its leader sent his sister to join the delegation, and his sister, to some extent, is almost the only person who can convey his voice to the South. At the same time, the military parade shows that, although North Korea wants to use the Olympics to repair ties, it will not beg for peace," Lü Chao, a researcher on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

North Korea has claimed that its high-level delegation has no intention of talking to the US during the Olympics. According to the Korea Central News Agency, Jo Yong-sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said that "we have never begged for dialogue with the US nor in the future, too."

US Vice President Mike Pence will lead the American delegation attending the event, but he described North Korea as "the world's most tyrannical regime" after he arrived in South Korea.

"It makes the peace process look very uncertain. The détente between the North and South is meaningless if there is no agreement between Pyongyang and Washington. Now that both sides continue to remain tough and refuse to compromise, everyone should be cautious. The peace brought by the Olympics could be temporary," Lü said.

'Positive changes'

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is undergoing positive changes as South Korea and North Korea are using the Winter Olympics to restart dialogue and commence cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy Han Zheng said Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Han, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at a meeting with Moon that the relationship between South Korea and North Korea has improved and has been making progress.

China supports the conciliation and cooperation between South Korea and North Korea, and hopes that relevant parties would meet each other half way and make joint efforts to further ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and push forward the political settlement process of the peninsula issue, Han said.

Han was invited by Moon and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

 

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