Matching choppers fly in Pyongyang army parade

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Matching choppers fly in Pyongyang army parade

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The North Korean military paraded through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Saturday during a highly-choreographed celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. [AP/NEWSIS]

At a massive parade held to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement over the weekend, North Korea put military helicopters on display that are the same as some used by the South.

It was the first time North Korea has revealed helicopters at an event to celebrate the agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, and the first time in 20 years that they held a military parade on the occasion.

On Saturday at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, the H-500 helicopters swept the sky above the meticulously choreographed spectacle.

The South Korean military uses the same aging model but calls it the MD 500.

The fact that the North has the same aircraft could be dangerous in a conflict because it would be difficult to distinguish enemies.

Sources in Seoul say North Korea could have smuggled the U.S.-made choppers in from Europe in the 1980s.

Also featured in the parade were soldiers wearing chest packs emblazoned with nuclear symbols, apparently to announce the regime’s nuclear arsenal.

Despite speculation to the contrary, no new missiles or weapons were unveiled during the event, according to the South Korean military.

Instead, KN-08 missiles were once again put on display, mounted on military vehicles, with their color changed to gray.

The missiles were first publicly shown at a parade celebrating the centennial birthday of founder Kim Il Sung on April 15 last year. At the time, they were military green

Sources say North Korea has never test fired any of the long-range ballistic missiles, which reportedly have a range of 5,000 kilometers.



BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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