North Korea is set to hold its 70th anniversary military parade, a day ahead of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

North Korea

The annual parade, marking the founding of its army, is usually held in April but was moved to 8 February this year.

Ahead of the parade, Korean Central Television is showing video archive of previous leaders, the local landscape and propaganda films.

It is not clear what time the parade will begin.

North Korea had earlier dismissed criticism of its plans to hold the parade a day before the Olympics, saying no-one had the right to take issue.

“It is a custom and very basic common sense that any country in the world takes the founding of its military very seriously and celebrates it with extravagant events,” said the ruling Workers’ Party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun.

The US has said it would rather the parade not take place as the focus should be on the Games.

On Thursday, North Korea said it has no intention of meeting US officials during the Games, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

South Korean government officials had said last month that some 13,000 troops and 200 pieces of equipment had been spotted near an airport in Pyongyang in what appeared to be a rehearsal for the parade.

Experts say North Korea is expected to showcase its long-range missiles.

“What we should look out for during the parade is North Korea’s showcase of its missile vehicles, how many of them there are, and if they are carrying any new missile designs,” said David Schmerler, a North Korea analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

“However, we also need to remember that just because they showcase something doesn’t mean they are working on it. In the past, North Korea has paraded missiles that have never come to production.”

The main organiser of the Pyeongchang Olympics has said that the parade will not affect the “dynamics” of the Olympic Games.

Lee Hee-beom added that all 193 UN member states, including North Korea, have supported the UN Olympic Truce Resolution for the Winter Games.

Under the truce, which begins seven days before the opening of the Winter Games and runs until the seventh day after the closing of the Winter Paralympics, all UN member states are urged to stop all hostilities.

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