North Korea is preparing to display dozens of long-range missiles during an upcoming parade, reports claim.
According to CNN, two diplomatic sources say Pyongyang will show off the military hardware on February 8 just days before the Winter Olympics are set to begin in South Korea.
The intention, one source claimed, was to “scare the hell out of the Americans” with its latest intercontinental ballistic missiles, specifically the Hwasong-15, as well as “hundreds” of other projectiles.
Despite North Korea allowing foreign media to attend its military parade last April, the source indicated that Pyongyang has banned all outside press from the upcoming event due to the “sensitivity of the weapons that will be on display.”
The report also claimed that a missile test could be carried out “in the near future” to send a message to U.S. forces throughout the region.
News of North Korea’s plans for the parade follow President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday in which he criticized Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons program.
“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies,” Trump said.
Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned in an op-ed for the Washington Post Tuesday that the Trump administration’s proposal for a “bloody-nose” strike on North Korea could prove disastrous.
“If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind?” Cha wrote. “And if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary’s rational understanding of signals and deterrence?”
Cha, who was reportedly Trump’s top pick for U.S. ambassador to South Korea before disagreeing with the potential preemptive strike plan, instead called on the White House to bolster the defenses of Japan and South Korea while continuing its “highly successful sanctions campaign.”
“A sustained and long-term competitive strategy such as this plays to U.S. strengths, exploits our adversary’s weaknesses and does not risk hundreds of thousands of American lives,” Cha wrote.
U.S. officials say North Korea has scaled back its annual winter military exercises this year due to the effectiveness of White House-led sanctions.
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