Could Kim Jong-un BREAK Olympic truce with nuclear missile launch THIS WEEK? | World | News

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The secretive state, which opened up to the world by engaging in the Winter Olympics south of the border, is set to celebrate the birth date of dictator Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il.

Celebration days are regularly used as an excuse by the regime to launch missiles – including 2016 where the anniversary of the state’s founding was marked with an underground nuclear test.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said: “Without any peculiarity, North Korea is having commemorative events at the previous year’s scale.

“Usually, North Korea has held a central reporting meeting and military ceremonies on the day before the Day of the Shining Star, the birthday of Kim Jong-il, as well as the sitting leadership’s visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun mausoleum and other celebratory events on the date of the birthday.” 

North Korea has carried out a missile launch every February for the past four years – however they have never launched one on the Dear Leader’s birthday itself.

In 2017 the regime launched an intermediate-range Polaris-2 missile into the Sea of Japan, in 2016 a failed test was carried out from the Dochang-ri launch site, and in 2015 and 2014 the hermit kingdom test fired short range missiles.

However with an easing of joint military drills between the US and South Korea expected, it is unclear as to whether Kim will want to challenge the delicate diplomacy fostered during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The hermit kingdom has come out of its shell to participate in the games, which have included high profile visits from the Supreme Leader’s sister Kim Yo-jong and the North Korean cheerleading squad, as well as an inter-Korean hockey team who walked under a unified flag.

And during the games the South’s leader Moon Jae-in welcomed an invitation to talks in Pyongyang, offered by Kim Jong-un himself.

However some experts believe the agreements between the sides are simply the calm before the storm.

Chris Hill, the former US ambassador to South Korea, told NBC he does not expect Kim to end his race for nuclear supremacy.

He said: “There’ll be a positive feeling that we’ve somehow turned the corner and are heading to a solution.

“I don’t think by any means North Korea is prepared to denuclearize at this point.”

“I think what North Korea is trying to achieve with this opening of dialogue with the South is as if to say, ‘Look we have nuclear weapons, we’re not going to get rid of nuclear weapons, but we are prepared to be very good neighbour’.

“It’s an effort to present a sense of normalcy to their country, the fact that they are somehow, in their view, a member of the international community in good standing.”



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