N. Korea planning large military parade this year: official

North Korea has been preparing for a large military parade for this spring since before the death of its former leader Kim Jong-il, a government official here said Monday.

(Yonhap News)

"North Korea has been practicing a military parade, with troops and equipment on hand, at the Mirim Airbase near Pyongyang," the official said. "This began before the death of Kim Jong-il last year (in December)."

The official added the North's military may be targeting the 100th birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung, on April 15, or the 80th founding anniversary of the military on April 25.

Sources said the rehearsals have mobilized active and reserve troops, and also new armored vehicles and short- and mid-range missiles.

"North Korea stages a parade on national holidays such as the founding anniversary of the military," the official added.

"Considering the pace and the size of the rehearsals, the parade will likely be held in April rather than Feb. 16, Kim Jong-il's birthday." (Yonhap News)

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