The world’s most hermetically sealed country closed its borders in a way that makes the Norwegian border rules fade when the coronavirus broke out in China this winter. According to the North Korean authorities, not a single case of infection has been registered in the country.
On Saturday, a parade and rally is planned that few countries would have avoided in 2020. The military parade is held to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Kim Jong-un’s ruling party.
South Korean authorities state that intelligence indicates that there will be a large-scale parade, which is also indicated by satellite images.
North Korea has worked hard to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country. In September, a South Korean was shot and killed as he tried to swim into North Korean waters.
The man was allegedly shot and killed to prevent infection, but Kim later had to move out with a public apology to South Korea for the murder. South Korean authorities have concluded that the man probably tried to jump off.
On Saturday, it is expected to see several thousand soldiers and spectators in the streets of Pyongyang, without it being known whether infection control measures will be taken in connection with the parade.
The largest gathering is expected to take place at Kim Il-sung Square in the city center. It will display military vehicles and tanks, and probably advanced missiles.
Western intelligence believes the country still has its missile development program despite talks the country has held with the United States. Analysts expect a ballistic missile that can be launched from a submarine, or an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the American mainland.
The 75th anniversary puts Kim and his party in a position where people expect to see something new and bigger, points out Lee Sung-yoon, a Korean researcher at Tufts University in the USA.
“Showing off the most advanced weapons will signal a major step forward in the credibility of the Pyongyang threats,” he said.
No foreign journalists are allowed to enter the country to cover the parade, and most international embassies in Pyongyang have closed their doors. The parade therefore does not want to have many western looks on it.
South Korean analysts believe Kim Jong-un will probably give a speech, but that North Korea will take care not to insult the United States too strongly in the hope that talks between the countries can be resumed.
Harry Kazianis of the Conservative American think tank Center for National Interest says the authorities in Pyongyang are playing loud when the parade is held in the middle of the pandemic.