Why North Korea’s Military Parade was Timed to Coincide with the Winter Olympics

Below is an excerpt from ROK Drop favorite B.R. Myers who takes on Kim regime apologizers in regards to their recent military parade right before the start of the Olympic Games:

We have also been hearing that the parade of February 8 has nothing to do with the Olympics because a) the restoration of this day for commemorating the KPA’s founding took place in 2015, after a 37-year interval, and b) 2018 marks a “round” year in special need of a big splash. The obvious retort is to ask why the Kim Jong Il regime, for all its militarism, saw no reason to restore the holiday in time for the much “rounder” anniversary in 1998. Besides, in 2015 everyone already knew when and where the 2018 Winter Olympics would take place.

In line with an older tradition of South Korean apologism is the effort of the Unification Minister and other Pyongyang watchers to argue that the parade is no cause for alarm because these displays of resolve and might are merely for “domestic propaganda use,” for “unifying the North Korean people,” or for “maintaining the system.”

This recalls the wishful approach to propaganda with which many foreigners and even German Jews deceived themselves in the first years of the Third Reich. “Anti-Semitism,” they argued, “is too central to the legitimacy and popularity of Nazism for the regime not to profess it constantly in the strongest terms. Were Hitler to give the Judenhetze a rest even for a month or two, the public backlash would be swift and harsh. Yet we aren’t to worry too much, because he can’t possibly intend to act on that nonsense.”

If anything, the South Korean variant is even more irrational. After all, what the Nazis were planning was without precedent, whereas that same North Korean military whose founding is to be celebrated on February 8 once came very close to destroying the Republic of Korea.  [B.R. Myers]

You can read the rest at the link, but it is pretty convincing that this parade was organized specifically as a response to the Winter Olympics being hosted in South Korea since it wasn’t celebrated as a holiday until 2015.  The regime knew when the Winter Olympics were going to occur and this holiday fit nicely with the timeline.  If Park Geun-hye was still president I am sure the parade and rhetoric would have been more threatening to an external audience, however with President Moon in power they toned it down by North Korean standards.

Myers in his article goes on to explain how the regime must continue with bellicose rhetoric and threats domestically especially during a charm offensive like they are doing now with the Olympics.  The rhetoric and threats like this parade are used to remind North Koreans that final victory will only come through military strength that will defeat the evil American imperialists and their ROK lackeys.

It is this mentality which after the Olympics is over I suspect at some point the Kim regime will return to provocative behavior.  However, instead of blaming the ROK government they will likely try to blame the US in an effort to inflame anti-Americanism in South Korea.  The narrative will likely be that the Kim regime has tried to be peaceful and work towards unification during the Winter Olympics timeframe, but the evil American Imperialists continue with their aggressive behavior.  This will justify them conducting more nuclear and missile tests.

The earliest flashpoint to promote this narrative will be the Key Resolve military exercise coming up reportedly a month after the Winter Olympics are over.  This is assuming the exercise happens with reports that it may be cancelled.  Either way the Kim regime wins because both scenarios advance their effort to separate the ROK from the US.

North Korea Holds Military Parade to Mark 70th Anniversary of Its Military Before the Winter Olympics

While North Korea’s propaganda troop is busy in South Korea promoting the Kim regime to an international audience, back in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un was busy promoting his rule domestically with a military parade:

North Korea has unveiled video footage of its massive military parade held in Pyongyang on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of its military.

North Korea has unveiled video footage of its massive military parade held in Pyongyang on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of its military.

The edited clips broadcast by the North’s state-run Korean Central Television later in the day showed a host of intercontinental ballistic missiles that are believed to be able to strike the U.S. mainland, including the Hwasong-15, Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-12, all of which the regime successfully test-launched last year.

The North also displayed its solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile in an apparent bid to show off what it claims is the completion of its nuclear forces.

The North’s military forces were smaller in scale than previous years possibly due to the fallout from strengthened international sanctions against the country’s nuclear and missile programs.

However, many observers suspect the downsizing was intentional as Pyongyang seeks to avoid international criticism ahead of the Winter Olympics set to kick off in South Korea on Friday.

Unlike past years, the parade was not broadcast live and foreign journalists were not allowed to cover the event.   [KBS Global]

You can read more at the link.

Organizers Criticize Seoul Police for Denying Gay Rights Parade in Downtown Seoul

I think in this case the Seoul police are correct in how they are handling this issue.  If there is going to be a confrontation between different groups why would should the police allow this to happen in the middle of Seoul and make traffic miserable for everyone that works there?:

LGBT pride parade in South Korea on June 7, 2014. (Courtesy of Cezzie901 via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Police have denied permission for a street parade highlighting the rights of sexual minorities scheduled for later this month in central Seoul, upsetting the event’s organizers.

According to the festival organizer Monday, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency turned down the organizer’s request for the June 28 parade.

It was planned as a part of events for the Korea Queer Festival, which will run from June 9-28. The opening ceremony will take place at Seoul Plaza, and the parade was also scheduled to start at the plaza.

The police said other groups had already submitted plans to stage a parade at the same time and location. They also said that the organizer’s parade, which was to proceed from the plaza and along Cheonggye Stream before returning to the plaza, would worsen traffic conditions in the area.

The festival organizers protested.

“For the last 15 years, the festival has not caused any traffic problems,” said one member of the festival organizing committee.

The Korea Queer Festival marks its 16th year this year. Previously, festivals and parades were held on the streets of Sinchon, where there is a large college student population. This was the first event planned for Seoul Plaza.

The organizer suspects others who scheduled events that effectively blocked the street parade were conservative Christian groups which opposed the festival, thus giving police an excuse to say no to the parade.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.