Satellite images indicate North Korea preparing for massive military parade

Satellite images indicate North Korea preparing for massive military parade

10:46 - Satellite images on Friday appeared to show North Korea preparing for a massive military parade in celebration of the 75th anniversary of its ruling party next month amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported.

Maxar, a Colorado-based satellite imagery company, took images of what the AP said was thousands of people assembled in formation and rehearsing for a military parade near Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square. The anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party is on Oct. 10.

The images come after the North’s Korean Central News Agency announced Monday that the country is intensifying its anti-coronavirus measures, adding that officials are trying to promote an anti-pandemic campaign that “is waged consistently without a moment’s indolence, slackness and carelessness."

The North Korean government has repeatedly claimed to have no reported COVID-19 cases in the country, a claim questioned by international experts due to the North's large border with China, where the virus is believed to have originated.

In July, South Korea confirmed that a man who defected from North Korea swam back to the North. North Korean officials announced at the time that the man was thought to be carrying the coronavirus, although South Korean officials told The New York Times that there was no evidence he had been tested or had come in contact with anyone infected.

On Wednesday, South Korean officials warned U.S. lawmakers that North Korea could be planning to test a ballistic missile launched via submarine. This came following a recent breakdown of nuclear talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump brought back his nickname for Kim, "Rocket Man," late last year after North Korea's government conducted a rocket engine test from a satellite launch site in the country.

“He definitely likes sending up rockets, doesn’t he,” Trump said in December 2019 following the test. “That’s why I call him Rocket Man."

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