By Will Ripley, CNN–
North Korea is planning to show off dozens of long-range missiles at a February 8 parade, the day before the Winter Olympics is set to begin in South Korea, two diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea’s intentions told CNN Wednesday.
The display, of “hundreds” of missiles and rockets, would be an attempt “to scare the hell out of the Americans,” one of the sources said.
The parade is expected to include dozens of intercontinental-range Hwasong-15 missiles, which the North Koreans test-fired for the first time in late November, the sources said.
They also didn’t rule out a missile test “in the near future” to send a strong message to American forces currently deployed in the region.
The North’s decision to participate in the Winter OIympics had been hailed as a breakthrough that could ease escalating tension on the Korean peninsula. However, the process has not been smooth.
On Monday, North Korea canceled a joint cultural performance that was to be held in advance of the Olympics. The sources said that other planned events could be canceled.
The news comes after US President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech, during which he criticized the Kim Jong Un regime’s human rights abuses and “reckless pursuit” of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could soon threaten the US homeland.
Foreign media will be banned from covering the upcoming parade, the sources said.
This is a dramatic change from last year, when many global news organizations were invited to cover a military parade in April that saw Pyongyang unveil new long-range missiles. A diplomatic source says this is due to the sensitivity of the weapons that will be on display, and to avoid questions about the deploylability of the missiles. By banning foreign press, North Korea controls all of the imagery the world sees.
North Korean state media in recent days has been increasing its anti-US rhetoric, warning of grave consequences if postponed joint military exercises resume after the Olympics.