Image of a North Korean military parade held on April 15, 2017 at Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang
North Korea on Thursday held a military parade in Pyongyang, on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, said a source in the government of Seoul.
„We have heard that the North has held a military parade in Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang starting at 10:30 am today,“ said the source. The North Korean official television did not broadcast any live image of the event.
North Korea announced last month that this year it would celebrate the 70th anniversary of its army on February 8, instead of April 25.
The news surprised foreign capitals after the diplomatic change undertaken since January by the North Korean regime, which took advantage of the Games to reach out to its southern neighbor.
According to analysts, North Korea aims to normalize its status as a „de facto nuclear state“ with its new strategy. For them, the Asian country seeks perhaps to obtain a reduction of international sanctions against its regime and create a division in the relationship between the South Korean and American allies.
The North Korean government assured Thursday that it did not want to meet with the representatives of the United States during the Games.
„We have no intention of meeting with the US authorities during our visit to the South,“ said Cho Yong-Sam, a senior official at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, according to the KCNA news agency. „We have never asked for a dialogue with the United States and we will never do it,“ he said.