South Korea monitoring the North over military parade signs

South Korea’s military on Tuesday was closely watching North Korea amid signs the country was preparing to hold a new military parade to showcase its growing nuclear and missile capabilities, reported AP. The South Korean and U.S. militaries were “thoroughly following and monitoring North Korean preparations for large-scale events such as a military parade in connection with the North’s internal schedule,” said Col. Kim Jun-rak, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the news conference, he didn’t specify  what the allied militaries have seen or when they expect the parade to take place.

North Korea often celebrates major state anniversaries by rolling out thousands of goose-stepping troops and its most advanced military hardware at a square in the capital, Pyongyang. There’s speculation that its next military parade could come as early as Thursday when it celebrates the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding. October 10 is another big date, the 76th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party. During a military last parade in January, North Korea showcased new missiles being developed to be fired from submarines as it celebrated the closure of a rare Workers’ Party congress. There, leader Kim Jong Un vowed to expand his nuclear weapons program in the face of what he described as U.S. hostility. Meanwhile, the Workers’ Party’s Politburo on Tuesday elected an army general, seen as an influential figure in shaping the country’s ballistic missile program, as the newest member of its powerful presidium, which consists of Kim and four other top officials, North Korean state media said.

Kim has since pledged to bolster his country’s nuclear deterrent and has so far rejected the Biden administration’s overtures for talks, demanding that Washington abandon its “hostile” policies first. Kim’s powerful sister and other North Korean senior officials issued statements last month berating the U.S. and South Korea for continuing their combined military exercises, which the North insists are invasion rehearsals, and threatened unspecified countermeasures that would leave the allies facing a “security crisis.”