N. Korea showcases ICBMs on eve of Olympics charm offensive

by WorldTribune Staff, February 8, 2018

As an all-female team of North Korean cheerleaders launched a Winter Olympics charm offensive down South, back at home dictator Kim Jong-Un was presiding over a massive military parade that rolled out the North’s ICBMs.

Missiles are displayed during North Korea’s military parade on Feb. 8. / KRT via AP

In Washington, meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s request for a U.S. military parade was criticized as costly ego-booster.

In a televised speech at the Feb. 8 military parade in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un praised the regime as a “global military power” and vowed “We will have to prevent aggressors from attempting to infringe or ridicule our dignity and sovereignty even by 0.001 millimeter.”

Launcher trucks rolled through the parade carrying Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICBMS – which the North claims can reach anywhere in the United States. The Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile was also displayed.

“As long as imperialism remains on the Earth and as long as the United States’ hostile policy on North Korea continues, the mission of our military, which is to protect our country and people and secure peace, can never change,” Kim said.

Kim’s inner circle also made an appearance at the parade, according to Yonhap. Along with Kim’s wife, Ri Sol-Ju, on hand were chief of the General Political Bureau Kim Jong-Gak and president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-Nam.

Kim Yong-Nam will be leading a high-level delegation, including Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo-Jong, to the Olympics on Feb. 9.

Kim Jong-Un did not mention the Olympics during his Feb. 8 speech.

Meanwhile, a team of 229 North Korean cheerleaders crossed the heavily fortified border to the South to root for the North’s Olympic squad during the Winter Games that open on Feb. 9.

“An 80-strong marching band within the contingent made its South Korean debut at a welcome event for the North’s national team at the athletes’ village in Gangneung, a sub-host city of the Olympics,” Yonhap reported.

The band opened with “Nice To Meet You,” an iconic North Korean traditional number that is widely known to South Koreans, followed by “Arirang,” a famous Korean folk song that will also be played during the joint entrance of the two Koreas at the opening ceremony, the report said.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it was moving forward with suggestions on a U.S. military parade requested by President Donald Trump.

“I think we’re all aware in this country of the president’s affection and respect for the military,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House. “We’ve been putting together some options. We’ll send them up to the White House for decision.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN he supports a parade that focuses on the troops rather than military equipment.

“I don’t mind having a parade honoring the service and sacrifice of our military members,” Graham said. “I’m not looking for a Soviet-style hardware display. That’s not who we are, it’s kind of cheesy and I think it shows weakness, quite frankly.”

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