A massive training exercise for soldiers participating in the Oct. 10 military parade to celebrate the founding of North Korea’s communist party has again been delayed until early August, Daily NK has learned.
Daily NK reported in May that the exercise had originally been set to go forward in mid-May, but had been delayed until July 20.
A North Korean military source told Daily NK on June 25 that the authorities had handed down an order on June 20 that all soldiers participating in the training exercise should gather in Pyongyang by Aug. 1.
The training exercise is now set to take place a mere two months or so before the actual parade in October.
The exercise was delayed because of a national rally for military veterans, according to Daily NK’s source.
“Veterans have to stay in the April 25 Hotel once they come to Pyongyang, and [the authorities] had no choice to delay the [training exercise] because there would have been [too many people to accommodate] at the hotel,” he said.
In fact, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on July 26 that military veterans had arrived in Pyongyang on June 25 to take part in a rally celebrating the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, called the “Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War” in North Korea.
The state-run news service also noted that the veterans were welcomed at the April 25 Hotel by government officials and hotel staff on June 25.
The source speculated that the authorities had decided to delay the training exercise in consideration of the “state’s poor financial situation” along with the issue of having too many people from outside Pyongyang gathering in the capital city at similar periods.
Daily NK asked the source whether North Korea’s announcement of the “maximum emergency system” to fight COVID-19 would impact preparations for the October parade.
The source replied that all relevant military units had “finished their training exercises” and that the General Staff Department was now “completely focused” on holding the large-scale training exercise from Aug. 1, after the arrival of all participants in Pyongyang.
A Kaesong-based unit with the 2nd Corps faces delays in their arrival to Pyongyang because of a recent lock down order implemented in the city, the source added.
According to the source, members of teams who have been staying at the April 25 Hotel since mid-July to prepare for the training exercise were also tasked with helping distribute food during the military veterans rally.
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