North Korea holds military parade to celebrate 110th anniversary of Kim Il Sung

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North Korea holds military parade to celebrate 110th anniversary of Kim Il Sung

North Korea appeared to have held a military parade to celebrate the 110th birthday of its deceased state founder, Kim Il Sung, but there was no indication of whether new weaponry was displayed.

The specialist news service cited sources in Pyongyang as saying that aircraft and helicopters were heard flying low over the city centre Thursday night, and roads were closed in parts of the capital.

The leader of the state founder Kim Jong Un, the grandson of the state founder, ramped up regional tensions last month by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017 and appears to be preparing for his first test of a nuclear bomb in more than four years.

A military parade would be the first in about seven months. In October 2020, Kim Jong Un put on a big display of new weaponry at a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of its ruling party. The event included a display of a new missile designed to strike the U.S., described by experts as the world's largest road-worthy intercontinental ballistic missile.

The ICBM known as the Hwasong-17 appears to have blown up shortly after launch in a failed test last month.

North Korea has held military parades at night and then broadcast an edited version several hours later on official media. Its state radio said youth dance celebrations and fireworks will be held in central Pyongyang on Friday from 7 p.m. to celebrate the holiday it calls the Day of the Sun, according to NK News and Yonhap News Agency.

A carrier group of aircraft was sent by the U.S. Navy to the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan for the first time since 2017. The show of force comes as the Biden administration is trying to limit Pyongyang's provocations as it confronts the security and economic challenges posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

North Korea is preparing for some of the biggest events on its political calendar, including a 110th birthday for Kim Il Sung and the 25th anniversary of the foundation of its army on April 25. The country has used the celebrations to show off its military might, parade new weapons through the streets of Pyongyang and hold rallies demonstrating its support for its leader.

Pyongyang could try to steal the spotlight from South Korea's inauguration on May 10 with a nuclear test, according to the DongA newspaper on Tuesday, citing an unidentified South Korean government official.

While Kim has been signaling plans to resume major weapons tests for more than two years, the US campaign to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine has reduced the risk of being hit with sanctions for such provocations. Any additional measures from the UN Security Council would require support from Russia and China, which has led to the criticism of Washington's efforts to squeeze Moscow economically.