North Korean soldiers march in a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photographer: Dieter Depypere/Bloomberg)

North Korea Seen Set to Hold Military Parade on Eve of Olympics

(Bloomberg) -- As South Korea gets ready to host the Winter Olympics, its northern neighbor is preparing to flex its muscles at its own party -- just a day before the Feb. 9 opening ceremony.

North Korea’s Politburo on Monday designated Feb. 8, 1948 as the foundation date of the Korean People’s Army, and plans to "significantly mark" the 70th anniversary next month, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. The Workers’ Party will hold "diverse events" so troops, party members and ordinary people will "deeply grasp" the feat of the nation’s founder Kim Il Sung in building the military force.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry took this as meaning North Korea was planning a military parade. "We’re closely analyzing to find an appropriate countermeasure," spokeswoman Choi Hyunsoo said Tuesday.

Read about how South Korea is divided on North Korea’s participation

While the KCNA gave no details on North Korea’s plans, Yonhap News cited a South Korean government official as saying around 13,000 troops and 200 pieces of equipment have been detected near a Pyongyang airport for a possible rehearsal for a parade.

At the opening ceremony of the Olympics in the ski resort of Pyeongchang, the two Koreas will march jointly under a unified flag -- the first time they will step out together at the launch of an international sporting event since 2007. The two nations will also field a joint team in the women’s ice hockey.

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