Photo: KCNA via AFP
Photo: KCNA via AFP

Satellite imagery reportedly shows no signs of ballistic missiles or unmanned aerial vehicles on a parade ground being used as a staging area for North Korea’s big, upcoming military parade on February 8.

Pyongyang customarily uses the annual parade to showcase weaponry, including missiles, and foreign analysts are watching to see if the event will spotlight new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or military drones.

38 North, a website dedicated to analyzing North Korean affairs, says the latest satellite photos from Planet Labs show 13,000 troops practicing on the training grounds for the parade, which celebrates the founding of the Korean People’s Army.

“However, only a small group of artillery pieces and armored fighting vehicles are visible at the facility. This is not unusual as some of these are likely stored at nearby military facilities. There are still no signs of ballistic missile or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launchers on the parade ground or at the heavy equipment storage area,” 38 North analyst Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. noted in the Monday post.

No explanation was given for the absence of missiles or UAVs at the Mirim Parade Training Facility. But it’s conceivable that North Korea is trying to conceal any new missiles or other equipment to be rolled out on Thursday from the cameras of US spy satellites.