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North Korea may hold massive military parade on eve of Olympics

By Jennie Oh
North Korea may hold massive military parade on eve of Olympics
File Photo of North Korean soldiers during a military parade in Pyongyang. FIle Photo by Astrelok/Shutterstock.

SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- North Korea appears to be preparing for a massive military parade to commemorate the foundation of the Korean People's Army on Feb. 8, according to satellite imagery.

The Voice of America reported Wednesday that commercial satellite images from Planet showed large-scale movements near Mirim Airport in Pyongyang at around 10:16 a.m. local time.

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An image shows hundreds of vehicles parked on the side of a public square with soldiers moving around in unison.

Planet's photos from Jan. 11 also show some 20 troops lined up in the middle of the square with photos taken half an hour later indicating that some of the rows had moved.

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Zooming in on the scene, Nick Hansen with Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation told the U.S. broadcaster that other satellite images show there were aircraft lined up along the southern part of the square.

This comes after a South Korean government official said Tuesday that there are signs the North has been rehearsing for a military parade since late last year.

Around 12,000 and 50 pieces of equipment were spotted in December near the Pyongyang airport.

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However, the number has now risen to some 13,000 troops and 200 pieces of equipment, according to the official.

The North is also expected to stage an airshow mobilizing the SU-25 war plane and the AN-2 interceptor.

North Korea on Tuesday announced it has changed the memorial date of its army's foundation from April 25 to Feb 8, and take measures to commemorate the historic occasion.

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If observed on Feb 8, the event would fall on the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and coincide with the North's cultural troupe's performance in the South.

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