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North Korea may be preparing military parade

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – Satellite photos show hundreds of people in formation at a training ground in North Korea’s capital in a possible sign the country is preparing for a military parade amid heightened animosities over its recent missile tests.

The 38 North website, which specialises in North Korea studies, said on Wednesday the February 5 imagery taken on the Mirim airfield in Pyongyang – where rehearsals for past military parades occurred – likely signals a forthcoming parade.

NK News also reported Wednesday that there have been signs of increased preparations for a military parade in Pyongyang in recent weeks. It cited unidentified informed sources on the ground and satellite imagery.

North Korea often marks important anniversaries with parades and other displays, and the websites noted several upcoming occasions, such as next week’s 80th birthday of Kim Jong-il, the late father of current leader Kim Jong-un, and April’s 110th birthday of Kim Il-sung, the late grandfather of Kim Jong-un.

The three Kims, who have been ruling North Korea successively since its foundation in 1948, are the subject of a strong personality cult among its 25 million people. The birthdays of the two late Kims are the country’s most important holidays, and its powerful Politburo recently decided to celebrate their upcoming birth anniversaries “with splendour” and make them as “the great festivals of victory and glory to shine long in the annals of the country”.

Missiles are seen during a military parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. PHOTO: AP