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North Korea's parade held without live television coverage

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea's parade held without live television coverage
North Korea’s military parade on Thursday was not delivered as a live event on state television. Photo screenshot of KCTV

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- North Korea's military parade on Thursday took place without live state broadcasts of the event, but no one outside the regime could confirm why Pyongyang never aired live footage of the military procession on state television.

Few foreign sources could confirm the parade on Thursday. They included special correspondent in Pyongyang for state-owned Chinese television network CCTV, and Michael Spavor, a Canadian businessman who has a long history of visiting the relatively isolated country.

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Late Thursday North Korea's KCTV released footage of the soldiers and tanks assembled in or near Kim Il Sung Square, and Kim Jong Un was seen delivering a speech for the event marking the founding of the Korean People's Army.

CCTV's correspondent said North Korea authorities could not provide information on the parade, and stated the main roads in Pyongyang were closed for the event as "advertising" balloons floated overhead.

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At about 12:30 p.m. the correspondent said he saw aircraft fly over and paint the sky with streaks of red, white and blue smoke for the colors of the North Korean flag.

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The Chinese journalist added "well-dressed residents" had gathered while holding bouquets of flowers.

Spavor, who founded the group Paektu Cultural Exchange, aired live footage of the parade on Periscope, which he uploaded to his Twitter account.

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Spavor's short videos did not show footage of North Korea's most lethal weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles or submarine-launched ballistic missiles, also known as SLBMs.

Tanks and army trucks carrying military officers could be seen instead.

It was unclear from Spavor's footage whether there was other equipment on display and whether they were off limits from being filmed by onlookers.

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A South Korean government source told News 1 the North Koreans may have significantly downsized the scale of the parade since April 15, 2017, when North Korea staged a major rally that included what some experts said are Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Ahn Chan-il, who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies told News 1 North Korea may have not turned the parade into a state media event "out of consideration for the Pyeongchang Olympics."

"They also understand they do not stand to benefit" from publicizing the parade and creating a provocation, Ahn said.

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