Kim Jong Un National Defense University will be sending a group of students to participate in North Korea’s planned military parade on Oct. 10 – the first time the school has ever officially taken part in a military parade, Daily NK has learned. 

According to a source Daily NK spoke with on Wednesday, the military school, which is also known as Battalion 852 of the Korean People’s Army, has already selected participants and completed training for the event following orders by the country’s leadership to participate in the parade. 

The source said that around 600 students were chosen from each department of the school to participate in the parade by the university’s administrative department and relevant military staff officers. 

They will assemble alongside other parade participants at the April 25 Hotel in Pyongyang on Aug. 1, the source added. 

This is the first time that students attending the university will officially take part in a military parade. The university trains professionals to research and develop strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). In fact, the university’s inclusion in the parade may be connected with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s ambition to deploy “new strategic weapons.” 

According to the source, university students chosen for the parade have been working hard to train for the event given that they must “show off” the “combat strength and power” of their institution, which trains science and technology professionals working on national defense who have “strengthened North Korea’s war deterrence capabilities in every way under the guidance of the ruling communist party.” 

There is reportedly a lot of pressure on the students to avoid damaging the reputation of the institution given that this is the first time it is officially participating in a military parade. The school dean has been put in charge of the school’s preparation for the event and a former soldier who has “relevant experience” has been selected as a flag bearer, according to the source.  

The source further reported that school authorities have intensified an effort to use the military parade as an opportunity to show the “pride” and “self-respect” students have at the school, which is named after the North Korean leader. In short, the students are being told to “repay” the communist party’s trust in placing the university into a “place of honor” by “putting their all” into practicing for the event. 

The decision to have students from the school participate in the event is also having an impact on the school’s academic schedule, according to the source. 

“The school typically only has a single vacation every year in the winter,” the source said. “This means that lectures continue even while other major universities are on summer break. Since participants in the parade have to practice during weekdays, makeup classes are being held in the evening.” 

The source also relayed rumors at the university that the Commendations Department, which is under the military’s General Political Bureau, may award special commemorative medals to students participating in the parade. 

“People are saying that taking part in the parade is the greatest of all honors,” the source added.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to