North Korea reportedly plans to hold a military event, one day before the Winter Olympics kick off in South Korea

  • North Korea is reportedly planning to conduct military-themed events, one day before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
  • The event may raise eyebrows as bilateral talks between the North and South progresses, and as South Korea prepares to welcome a North Korean delegation to participate in the Winter Olympics.


North Korea is reportedly planning to conduct military-themed events in observance of the Korean People's Army's 70th anniversary on February 8, one day before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, according to an NK News report on Wednesday.

According to an invitation sent to defense officials and their spouses, North Korea is planning to host "festival functions," which may include a military parade in the capital of Pyongyang, NK News reported.

"It may not be called 'a parade,' but it is highly likely that there would be some kind of event taking place at Kim Il Sung Square," North Korea analyst Fyodor Tertitskiy said in the report, referring to the parade ground named after the country's founder. "I don’t think that the [North Koreans] even perceives this as a hostile action: they never canceled their regular parades before and were never requested to do so."

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North Korean athletes at previous Olympic Games
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North Korean athletes at previous Olympic Games
CANADA - JULY 21: It's all right; Jack: Canada's Tony Lawrence gets his legs in front of the ball just in time to prevent a North Korean player from shooting from point-blank range on Canadian goalie Jack Brand in last night's Olympic soccer game at Varsity Stadium. The North Koreans won 3-1; handing the Canadian team its second loss in two games in Group D play; and eliminating it from Olympics. After the defeat; Canadian coach; Colin Morris; severly criticized his players. (Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, UNITED STATES: North Korean gymnast Pae Gil Su performs during a practice session on the pommel horse at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, 17 July, two days prior to the opening of the Centennial Olympic Games. Pae Gil Su is the 1996 World Champion. AFP PHOTO/Eric FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: South Korea's Sim Kwon-Ho (L) and Yong-Gyun Kang of North Korea (R) maneouvre head-to-head during their 54kg semifinal Greco-Roman wresting match 25 September 2000 at the XXVII Olympic Summer Games in Sydney. Sim of South Korea won 10-0 with grand superiority and shutout. AFP PHOTO/KIM Jae-Hwan (Photo credit should read KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOKYO - APRIL 24: The North Korean national women's soccer team poses for a photo prior to the AFC Olympics qualifying tournament semi-final against Japan at the National Stadium April 24, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan. Japan has qualified for Olympics. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Athens, GREECE: German judoka Yvonne Boenisch duels North Korean Sun Hui Kye in the final of the judo women's under 53 kg, 16 August 2004 at the Ana Liosia Olympic Hall in Athens, during 2004 Olympic Games. Boenisch won gold. AFP PHOTO FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Athens, GREECE: Hyok Ju Kwak (L) of North Korea takes evasive action against Najah Ali (R) of Iraq during their Olympic Games preliminary Light Flyweight (48 kg) match at the Peristeri Boxing Hall 18 August 2004 in Athens. Ali won a clear 21-7 points decision. AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Athens, GREECE: North Korea's Kim Hyon-Hui competes against Yana Tie of Hong Kong during their women's singles table tennis fourth round singles match at the Olympic Games in Athens, 19 August 2004. Yana won 11-6, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8. AFP PHOTO/RAMZI HAIDAR . (Photo credit should read RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Athens, GREECE: Kim Hyang-Mi of North Korea hits a return during the women's singles table tennis final against Zhang Yining of China at the Olympic Games in Athens, 22 August 2004. Zhang won the match to take gold, with Kim getting the silver and Kim Kyung-Ah of South Korea receiving the bronze. AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Athens, GREECE: North Korea's Hyong Gil Choe dives during the 10m platform preliminary at the Olympic aquatic center at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, 27 August 2004. AFP PHOTO PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of North Korea's women national team pose prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games first round women football match against Nigeria at the Shenyang Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2008. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 09: Craig Fallon (top) of Great Britain takes on Kim Kyong Jin of North Korea during the men's -60kg repechage judo held at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium during Day 1 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 9, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
O Jong Ae of North Korea competes in the women's 58 kg weightlifting event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 11, 2008. AFP PHOTO/JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Kwon Un Sil of North Korea takes aim in the women's individual archery 1/8 eliminations event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 14, 2008. AFP PHOTO/JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's Un Jong Hong celebrates during the medal ceremony of the women's vault final of the artistic gymnastics event of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on August 17, 2008. North Korea's Un Jong Hong won the gold, Germany's Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina the silver and China's Fei Cheng the bronze. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 17: Hong Un Jong of North Korea reacts after competing in the women's individual vault final during the artistic gymnastics event held in National Indoor Stadium on Day 9 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 17, 2008 in Beijing, China. Hong Un Jong went on to win the gold medal. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
North Korea's Om Yun Chol celebrates after competing during the weightlifting men's 56kg group B at the Excel Center in London during the 2012 London Olympic Games on July 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
North Korea's An Kum Ae celebrates after winning against Cuba's Yanet Bermoy Acosta during their women's -52kg contest final match of the judo event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 ExCel arena in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)
Rachel Buehler of the US (R) vies foir the ball with North Korea's forward Kim Song Hui during the London 2012 Olympic Games womens football match between the US and North Korea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on July 31, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/GettyImages)
North Korea's Kim Min-Jae competes during the men's 94kg group A weightlifting event of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Excel Centre in London on August 4, 2012. AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
South North Korea's Rim Jong Sim competes for the gold medal during the women's 69kg group A weightlifting event at The Excel Centre in London on August 1, 2012 during the London 2012 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
PICTURE TAKEN WITH AN UNDERWATER CAMERA North Korea's Jang Hyang Mi and North Korea's Jong Yon Hui compete in the duets free routine preliminary round during the synchronised swimming competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 6, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/GettyImages)
North Korea's pair Kyong Ri Mi and Kim Jong competes against Singapore's Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu during a table tennis women's team match of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Excel centre in London on August 4, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Namibia's Naatele Sem Shilimela (back) wrestles North Korea's Yang Kyong Il during their Men's 55kg Freestyle repechage round 2 match on August 10, 2012 during the wrestling event of the London 2012 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/GettyImages)
North Korea's Kim Song I (C) hits a shot against Singapore's Yu Mengyu in their women's singles quarter-final table tennis match at the Riocentro venue during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's duet Kim Kuk Hyang and Kim Mi Rae compete in the Women's Synchronised 10m Platform Final during the diving event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Martin BUREAU / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Martin BUREAU has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [North Korea's duet] instead of [South Korea's duet]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's Kim Song I poses with her bronze medal in the women's singles table tennis at the Riocentro venue during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 10, 2016. / AFP / Juan Mabromata (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's Rim Jong Sim competes during the women's weightlifting 75kg event during the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, 2016. / AFP / GOH Chai Hin (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's Kim Un Hyang takes part in the Women's 10m Platform Semifinal during the diving event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 18, 2016. / AFP / Martin BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14: Un Jong Hong of North Korea competes in the Women's Vault Final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
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As Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, noted, satellite images of a nearby airfield indicated that North Korea has been preparing for an event:

Depending on its size and manner of display, the proposed event could spark renewed tensions with South Korea as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics, at a time when memories of the North's most-recent provocations are still fresh.

South Korea has recently made concessions to the North, including delaying its annual joint-military exercise with the US — an event that North Korea vehemently opposes — until after the Winter Olympics.

Although skeptics remain wary of the bilateral negotiations, dialogue between North and South Korea has progressed after a line of communication was opened in early January. The two nations are currently discussing the logistics of sending a team of North Korean delegates — including an orchestra, cheer leaders, and hockey players — to South Korea to participate in the Olympic Games.

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