The Latest: North Korea shows off missiles, drones in parade

AP News
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Posted: Oct 10, 2015 11:29 AM
The Latest: North Korea shows off missiles, drones in parade

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The latest on the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of North Korea's ruling party (all times local).

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5:30 p.m.

Tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, drones and a variety of missiles mounted on trucks were among the military hardware that North Korea showed off during a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country's ruling party.

Meanwhile, military planes flew in formation above Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang on Saturday, forming the symbol of the Workers' Party of Korea — a hammer, brush and sickle. Another group of planes followed forming the number 70 in the sky.

Thousands of civilian marchers followed, holding colored cards to spell out the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who waved to the crowd and held hands with visiting Chinese official Liu Yunshan.

An expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, a security think tank in Seoul, Jin Moo Kim, said North Korea revealed a new 300-millimeter rocket launcher. It also displayed drones and a KN-08 ballistic missile, with an estimated range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), that the country had previously shown off in 2012.

The parade kicked off a big anniversary celebration seen by analysts as a sign that Kim is trying to build up his own stature along with that of the party relative to the military.

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4 p.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country's army is ready to respond to "any kind of war" against the U.S.

Kim made the comment in a speech Saturday at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's ruling party.

Kim did not specifically comment on the North's capabilities in nuclear weapons or long-range missiles in the speech, which was broadcast by the North's official Korean Central TV. He spent most of the speech stressing what he said was his government's commitment to improving the lives of his people.

The parade kicked off a huge anniversary celebration seen by analysts as a sign that Kim is trying to build up his own stature along with that of the party relative to the military.

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3 p.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made an appearance at a lavish military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the country's ruling party.

The North's official Korean Central TV showed Kim, clad in black, walking down a red carpet and saluting his honor guard. Kim then walked up to a podium and waved to troops who were taking part in the parade Saturday in Pyongyang.

Visiting Chinese official Liu Yunshan stood clapping to Kim's left, with senior North Korean officials on Kim's right. Kim smiled as he spoke with Liu through a translator.

The parade kicked off a huge anniversary celebration seen by analysts as a sign that Kim is trying to build up his own stature along with that of the party relative to the military.

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2:30 p.m.

North Korea has started a lavish parade in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of its ruling party's creation and trumpet the leadership of third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un with a display of military might.

North Korea's official Korean Central TV showed goose-stepping soldiers marching at Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday afternoon to kick off a parade that is expected to also feature military vehicles and missiles.

The parade could hold some surprises for outside watchers who have been aware of North Korea's growing fleet of drone aircraft, long-range missiles and other weaponry.

The huge celebration this year is seen by analysts as a sign that Kim is trying to build up his own stature along with that of the party relative to the military.

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11:30 a.m.

The military parade that will kick off celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of North Korea's ruling party has been delayed.

The parade was expected to be held Saturday morning, but was pushed back until the afternoon, apparently due to heavy rain Friday night. Even by late morning, as a light rain fell, officials had not distributed a final schedule — which is unusual even in North Korea.

Suggesting that the show will indeed go on, crowds of people carrying bouquets of plastic flowers could be seen streaming to Kim Il Sung Square, where the event will be held. Military vehicles or possibly floats shrouded in blue plastic tarps to protect them against the weather were parked in a long row on a bridge leading to the parade route.

The parade could hold some surprises for analysts abroad who will be watching its display of weaponry very closely, particularly North Korea's growing fleet of drone aircraft and long-range missiles.