Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

North Korea's military parades before Pyeongchang 2018

North Korea's military parades before Pyeongchang 2018 North Korea's military parades before Pyeongchang 2018
Nellie Chapman | 09 February, 2018, 05:35

In this image made from video by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes during the military parade on Thursday (Friday NZ Time).

She is to arrive Friday on a private jet to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games later that day, and will join South Korean President Moon Jae-in for lunch on Saturday, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

Analysts say that with the dual approach, the North is looking to normalise its status as a "de facto nuclear state", and could be trying to weaken the sanctions against it or drive a wedge between the South and its ally the US.

"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet the USA side during the stay in South Korea".

Pence had not explicitly ruled out the possibility of contact with the North Korean delegation, simply saying on Monday that the USA had not sought out a meeting but remained open to "see what happens".

Kim's two-pronged strategy has put the United States in an odd position.

However, the U.S. is still calling for pressure on North Korea to be ramped up, and plans to continue military drills with its allies in the region after the Olympics, in addition to recent drills. The North defends its weapons programmes as necessary to counter United States aggression.

"After President Harry Truman bypassed Congress to go to war in Korea, presidents have paid nearly no attention to the constitutional requirements", Slate reported soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. One of Kim's close aides, Choe Ryong Hae, and Kim Yong Nam were also in attendance.

But in the event, just four Hwasong 15 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBMs) - the North's biggest such weapon - on mobile transporters, were shown, with Kim looking on. "We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region". Trump has directed officials to plan a military parade for him, which the Pentagon and White House have confirmed is in the planning stages. Radio Free Asia reported during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics that although the country's delegation was given phones, North Korea's Olympic committee had refused to distribute them to athletes.

The Post notes that if the visit goes forward, she would be the first member of the Kim family to ever visit the South, a significant development in the fraught relationship between the two nations. Kim Jong Un has sent a contingent of athletes and cheerleaders to Pyeongchang, with his sister, Kim Yo Jong, at their head.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also attend the ceremony, adding to seating complications for the hosts.

"North Korea is actively engaging in inter-Korean dialogue on the occasion of the Olympics". She oversees the regime's propaganda department and has been playing an increasingly prominent role in the ruling Workers' party.