With military parade, Kim Jong Un thumbs nose at US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over an extravagant military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square on Thursday

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 7:26 AM

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over an extravagant military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square on Thursday, grabbing the spotlight on the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea to thumb his nose at Washington while making a point of showing off his new-found restraint toward Seoul.

The parade itself had been anticipated for weeks.

North Korea announced last month that it would hold a big event to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military.

But instead of broadcasting the morning event live, North Korean television aired an edited version later in the day, giving it a somewhat lower profile than expected. The parade was also shorter and featured fewer missiles than the previous one, which was held in April last year and unveiled five new kinds of missiles — surprising analysts and generating headlines worldwide.

This time, Kim fine-tuned his more fiery rhetoric toward Washington.

Addressing tens of thousands of troops and civilians assembled on the square below him, Kim said the parade marks North Korea’s emergence as a “global military power” despite facing the “worst sanctions.” He called for his military to maintain a high level of combat readiness against the United States and its followers to keep them from infringing upon “the republic’s sacred dignity and autonomy even by 0.001 millimeters.”

North Korea held a military parade and rally on Kim Il Sung Square on Thursday, just one day before South Korea hosts the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. (Feb. 8)

He made no mention of the Olympics in the parts of his speech that were broadcast. It was unclear whether the North showed the entirety of his speech during the recorded coverage of the parade.

The tone was in line with Kim’s bigger strategy of late.

He has been making a major diplomatic push toward South Korea since he announced a last-minute proposal to send a delegation of athletes, officials and entertainers to the Pyeongchang games during his annual New Year’s address.

The moves have been generally welcomed in the South.

Even as the missiles were rolling by his viewing stand, South Korean officials announced that Kim’s younger sister, due to attend Friday’s opening ceremony, will have a luncheon with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. That in itself is a major breakthrough for the Koreas. Kim Yo Jong is one of Kim Jong Un’s closest confidants and she will be the first member of the Kim family to visit the South.

Overshadowing most of the unease over the parade, South Korean television networks have focused on groups of North Korean musicians practicing for congratulatory concerts during the games, and a welcoming ceremony for the North’s competitors at the athletes’ village. With cameras filming it all, young South Korean men did a breakdance and an all-female North Korean band played songs recognizable on either side of the Demilitarized Zone.

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

Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea on Thursday vowing to send a strong message to the North that it must abandon its nuclear weapons. But that message may seem a bit off key to many South Koreans who are more open to see the North’s recent moves as a positive step, though by no means a final solution, and are at times vociferously wary of American meddling.

Though possibly best known for their legions of goose-stepping troops, North Korean military parades are the country’s primary means of showing off its most recent advances in military technology — sometimes with aspirational mock-ups.

Kim, dressed in a long black winter coat, was shown walking on a red carpet with his wife at the beginning of the event, which began with thousands of goose-stepping troops lined up in Kim Il Sung Square to form giant slogans. Virtually all foreign media were excluded from the event.

Though fewer in number, all of the basic components were brought out again on Thursday.

One of the North’s ICBMs — the Hwasong-15 — was wheeled out along with a variety of other missiles, including a Hwasong-12 midrange missile, which the North flew over Japan twice last year.

___

AP writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul contributed to this report. Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @erictalmadge.

Terre Haute
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Casey
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Brazil
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Marshall
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Cold Front Friday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 358799

Reported Deaths: 9605
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1681395382
DuPage21470603
Lake19856507
Will17354424
Kane15802344
Winnebago9464172
St. Clair7674215
Madison6893153
Champaign581928
McHenry5803120
Peoria433667
McLean396731
Rock Island376689
Unassigned3632260
Sangamon362661
Kankakee322478
Macon273349
Kendall252129
Tazewell247549
LaSalle223560
DeKalb216842
Coles182238
Williamson176159
Boone170925
Adams170115
Clinton166325
Vermilion15928
Jackson146226
Whiteside124125
Randolph119514
Knox118112
Ogle11217
Effingham11033
Grundy9037
Marion89116
Franklin8888
Jefferson88644
Monroe87328
Bureau86617
Morgan85424
Stephenson8517
Henry8107
Christian79426
Macoupin75110
Union74625
McDonough68716
Fayette65222
Lee6411
Crawford6366
Shelby61110
Livingston58610
Douglas5848
Montgomery57015
Woodford55814
Logan5534
Saline5119
Bond4809
Warren4677
Iroquois46419
Jersey46221
Wayne46111
Cass45311
Fulton4461
Jo Daviess4467
Perry41216
Moultrie3805
Carroll3728
Johnson3270
Richland32215
Lawrence3178
Clay29112
Clark28810
Hancock2884
Washington2861
Pike2814
Greene27615
Cumberland2606
Jasper25710
De Witt2463
White2421
Mason2391
Mercer2296
Pulaski2281
Piatt2200
Wabash2155
Ford18611
Menard1651
Edgar1468
Marshall1413
Massac1412
Henderson1150
Hamilton1132
Alexander1101
Gallatin1062
Brown1030
Edwards1010
Scott980
Putnam880
Schuyler831
Stark822
Calhoun670
Hardin500
Pope371
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 152396

Reported Deaths: 4023
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24905785
Lake13380352
St. Joseph8985161
Elkhart8530132
Allen7978222
Hamilton6000113
Vanderburgh567560
Tippecanoe358714
Monroe322238
Hendricks3221130
Johnson3051128
Porter303648
Clark289161
Delaware284574
Vigo256038
Madison232493
Cass222822
LaPorte220958
Warrick190065
Kosciusko179224
Floyd177367
Howard160066
Bartholomew139758
Dubois136726
Marshall134226
Henry123429
Grant122639
Wayne122127
Boone119548
Hancock115645
Noble114633
Jackson109413
Morgan93040
Dearborn92828
Daviess85333
Gibson84911
Clinton82916
Lawrence82634
Shelby80330
LaGrange77715
Harrison74824
Knox72110
Putnam71616
DeKalb69911
Posey6896
Fayette61417
Steuben6118
Miami5875
Montgomery57822
Jasper5744
White57215
Greene52137
Scott51013
Decatur49939
Adams4815
Whitley4426
Clay4396
Sullivan42913
Ripley4278
Wells4205
Wabash4029
Starke3977
Orange38825
Huntington3805
Spencer3746
Franklin36625
Washington3632
Jennings36013
Fulton3472
Randolph3439
Jefferson3305
Pike32915
Carroll31713
Perry29714
Jay2946
Fountain2883
Tipton27023
Vermillion2251
Newton22211
Parke2223
Rush2084
Owen2031
Blackford1983
Martin1960
Crawford1531
Pulaski1481
Brown1303
Ohio1247
Benton1080
Union1060
Switzerland900
Warren761
Unassigned0233