Satellite images show N Korea preparing for military parade

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is preparing for a massive military parade in its capital to mark the 75th anniversary of its ruling party next month, satellite images indicated yesterday, even as the country strengthens its anti-coronavirus measures.

The images provided by Maxar, a Colorado-based satellite imagery company, show thousands of people assembled in formation near Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square and rehearsing for a military parade. The anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party is on October 10. North Korea often holds military parades featuring soldiers and new weapons systems on state anniversaries to bolster unity and intimidate enemies.

North Korea insisted it has not had any coronavirus cases.

On Monday, the North’s Korean Central News Agency said the country is intensifying its emergency anti-coronavirus efforts. It said authorities are trying to boost the anti-pandemic atmosphere to ensure that the anti-virus campaign “is waged consistently without a moment’s indolence, slackness and carelessness”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for strong unity among the country’s 25 million people as it faces multiple crises including the pandemic, damage from a recent typhoon, and ongoing United States (US)-led economic sanctions. He closed the country’s border with China, its biggest trading partner, in January over virus concerns. Experts said the border closure has likely worsened North Korea’s already-troubled economy.

A parade rehearsal in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. PHOTO: AP