North Korea to parade missiles a day before Winter Olympics

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Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un is planning to show off its growing arsenal of long-range missiles in a large-scale military parade that will be held on Feb. 8, one day before the Winter Olympics that will be hosted by neighboring South Korea.

The planned parade will see the authoritarian country rolling out hundreds of missiles and rockets in a show of strength which attempts “to scare the hell out of the Americans,” according to diplomatic sources.

The display will include dozens of Hwasong-15 intercontinental missiles, which the Hermit Kingdom has tested in late November. Sources also did not rule out the possibility of performing another missile test to send a strong message to United States troops that are deployed in the region.

Officially, the parade is part of North Korea’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the nation’s military.

The news of the parade was announced after United States President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech, wherein he criticized North Korea’s regime abuses of human rights, as well as its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Trump also shared the stories of some of the victims of Kim’s regime and celebrated North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, who was invited to the address as the president’s guest. Also invited to the event were the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after being held captive by North Korea for 17 months following an attempted theft of a propaganda poster from his hotel room.

A day after the military parade, South Korea will be holding the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. North Korea will be sending a delegation that will march together with the South Korean delegation under a blue-and-white unification flag.

According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Olympic Games will be a good opportunity to have meaningful contact with the North after a period of diplomatic tension in the peninsula due over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.