North Korea KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles on display during a military parade on May 31, 2016. A new ICBM could be put on show on April 15, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by KCNA.
April 7 (UPI) -- North Korea is expected to stage a massive military parade on April 15, and possibly use the event to showcase its latest weapons, including a new intercontinental ballistic missile, according to South Korean officials.
The parade will commemorate the 105th birth anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung.
The weapons display could be a low-key way for North Korea to show the world it is ready for war, without launching new projectiles, officials in Seoul said, according to local television network MBC.
Satellite images of the country indicate North Korea is preparing for a large-scale parade at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, the report stated.
More events are expected on April 25, when the country celebrates the founding of the Korean People's Army.
But the anniversary on April 15 is expected to be symbolically important. North Korea has already publicized the parade to foreign press outlets and tour groups, according to MBC.
In previous parades, North Korea unveiled new missile models, including the KN-09 300-mm Artillery Rocket, the KN-08 ICBM, the KN-14 and nuclear backpacks.
The backpacks were strapped to marching North Korean soldiers in a past parade and could be used to spray radioactive material, according to experts.
North Korea belligerence, however, has been accompanied by increased emphasis on reconciliation with the South following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye, the former president.
On Friday a pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan reported on a women's ice hockey tournament in the South, where teams from the two Koreas faced off on Thursday in a match where the South Korean team won 3-0.
The Choson Sinbo described the atmosphere at the rink as "reminiscent of the June 15 unification period," a reference to a declaration signed by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000.
The statement from the paper run by North Korea's de facto embassy in Japan is believed to be a sign North Korea is interested in boosting civic exchange ahead of South Korea presidential elections on May 9.