North Korea rehearsing for massive military display: South

North Korea has already begun gathering military hardware at an airport near the capital Pyongyang, in preparation for a massive parade in October, the South`s defence ministry said Friday.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 17, 2015, 11:31 AM IST

Seoul: North Korea has already begun gathering military hardware at an airport near the capital Pyongyang, in preparation for a massive parade in October, the South`s defence ministry said Friday.

The ministry said missiles, armoured vehicles, multiple rocket launchers and other weapons had been collected at the Mirim military airfield for a rehearsal, three months before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North`s ruling Workers Party on October 10.

In February, the North Korean party adopted a resolution calling for a "grand style" military parade in October and stressed the need for "cutting-edge" hardware to boost the nuclear-armed nation`s fighting capacity.

The last such event was held in July 2013 -- an intimidating, two-hour spectacle of military might and patriotic fervour, involving wave after wave of goose-stepping soldiers, tank batteries and missile launchers.

The parades have been closely watched for glimpses of any new hardware that might signal a new step in the North`s military development.

The 2013 event showed off a long-range ballistic missile, although experts debated whether it was a genuine working model or just a mock-up.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests and threatened a fourth as part of a nuclear weapons and missile programme that it has pursued through a barrage of international sanctions.

There is debate among experts as to how far the isolated, secretive nation has come in developing those weapons, especially the ability to shrink nuclear warheads so that they can fit on a missile.

Its progress in long-range missile technology was hammered home by the launch of a rocket that successfully put a satellite in orbit in 2012.