Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 5 News List

ANALYSIS: N Korea’s anniversary chance for cash, new image

Reuters, PYONGYANG

So far, only one head of state, from Mauritania, is known to be visiting North Korea for the celebrations, something North Korea blames the US for.

“The US is ... forcing other countries not to send high-level delegations to the celebrations of the 70th founding anniversary,” the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement published last month by the Korean Central News Agency.

After weeks of speculation that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) might make his first visit to Pyongyang tomorrow, Beijing on Tuesday announced that the Chinese delegation would instead be led by Chinese National People’s Congress Chairman Li Zhanshu (栗戰書).

North Korea is also hosting a trade show and other trips aimed at attracting foreign investors later this month, but many are to remain wary of sanctions that still block many aspects of trade with the North.

Michael Spavor, a Canadian business consultant who heads the Paektu Cultural Exchange, said he is working with the North Korean government to bring about 25 Chinese investors and entrepreneurs to tour potential projects in Pyongyang, Wonsan and Nampho.

“We will attend matchmaking sessions with various government officials and stakeholders, as well as visiting existing and future development zones,” Spavor said.

Also on the expected schedule for tomorrow is a torchlight procession, as well as a military parade, which is to be closely watched for signs of new ballistic missiles or other advanced weaponry.

North Korea routinely uses major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and the latest developments in missile technology.

Satellite imagery suggests that the military component of the parade could be bigger than one held earlier this year, although no long-range ballistic missiles or their launchers have been spotted, the Web site 38 North says.

“Display of military prowess has always been crucial in North Korean statecraft, but North Korea does know that if they do display ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles], the international society will doubt their willingness for denuclearization,” Hong said. “It’s highly unlikely that North Korea would be risking it.”

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