North Korea is preparing a military parade for Oct. 10, the 76th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). A Daily NK source in the country stated that the decision to have this event – intended to celebrate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s tenth year in power – was made hastily. 

38 North, a website that focuses on North Korea, discovered through satellite imagery taken on Sept. 1 that North Korea is preparing a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang.

A source in North Korea told Daily NK on a Sept. 3 call that, “The military parade is being planned to review and commemorate the tenth anniversary of Comrade Kim Jong Un’s leadership of the WPK,” the source said during a Sept. 3 phone call. “The military parade will occur on WPK’s foundation day.

After the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011, Kim Jong Un became North Korea’s supreme leader. The parade is aimed at commemorating and celebrating Kim’s past ten years of leadership.

Due to continued sanctions on North Korea, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other factors, North Korea is suffering from deep economic troubles. The military parade appears to be aimed at turning people’s attention from this dire state of affairs. 

Daily NK’s source explained that the military parade is not aimed at conveying a message to the outside world, but rather to strengthen domestic solidarity. 

“During the military parade, new equipment and also new weapons deployed to the field will be put on display,” he said, adding, “However, this event is more for domestic consumption than to show off [North Korea’s military prowess] to the rest of the world.

“[Next month’s] military parade, which celebrates the Supreme Leader [Kim Jong Un]’s ten year anniversary of victorious leadership of the WPK, is not intended to be provocative, but rather a celebratory event to unite [North Koreans],” he continued. “Party members, soldiers, and laborers are being told that the holding of a military parade during an off-year [as opposed to parades held every five or 10 years] is because the 10th anniversary of [Kim’s] accession to power is a significant event.” 

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Kim Jong Un at the leadership podium during the Party Foundation Day military parade in Pyongyang on Oct. 10, 2020. / Image: KCNA

The military parade is being prepared for rather urgently following an order by Kim himself. 

The source related that North Korean military leaders had originally recruited personnel to take part in a military parade to celebrate Kim Il Sung’s birthday next year. While troops were preparing for this parade, however, North Korea’s leadership suddenly ordered them to prepare for next month’s military parade.  

Previously, Daily NK reported that North Korea is preparing for its largest military parade ever (with 38,00 participants) to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. Daily NK quoted a source who said that North Korea would start training for the parade starting July 1.

According to the source, 15,000 of these 38,000 soldiers were transferred out to practice for next month’s parade. “During the training for Kim Il Sung’s birthday parade, orders were suddenly given [to prepare for next month’s parade] without any specifics about whether the parade will be held at night or during the day,” he said. 

Last year, North Korea held the military parade for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the WPK. This year, however, it is unclear when exactly the WPK foundation day parade will be held.  

“There will be little issue in preparing for the parade because all the soldiers were already practicing for next year’s parade since July 1,” the source said, adding, “It was strange, however, that an order to practice for next year’s parade was handed down in June of this year given that there’s 10 months left until [Kim Il Sung’s birthday parade].” 

The source’s report suggests that the North Korean leadership may have started preparations for next year’s parade early under consideration that another military parade will be held in October of this year. 

According to the source, the 15,000 soldiers participating in next month’s parade will return to their original posts after the parade to continue to prepare for Kim Il Sung’s birthday event. 

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
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Mun Dong Hui is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.