North Korea holds military parade ahead of Olympics

North Korea holds military parade ahead of Olympics
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North Korea held a massive military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday, showing off the regime’s military capabilities ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics across the border in Pyeongchang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave a speech at the parade, touting the country’s emergence as a “global military power” and calling for the military to be prepared to stop the United States from interfering with “the republic’s sacred dignity and autonomy even by 0.001 millimeters,” according to an Associated Press report.

North Korea often holds parades to demonstrate its military might and technological advancements, but this parade was of a lower scale than past demonstrations, according to the AP.

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Last April, Kim showed off five new missiles for the first time. Thursday’s parade did include several intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) but was shorter than April’s demonstration.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE and Kim have feuded publicly over the past year, exchanging insults and threats as North Korea continues to test ICBMs that experts say could reach the continental U.S., but tensions seem to have cooled in recent weeks with the advent of the Olympics.

North Korea said earlier this year that it was open to talks with South Korea and ultimately made the decision to send a delegation of athletes to the games.

Vice President Pence is leading the U.S. delegation in Pyeongchang and has said he is open to meeting with North Korean officials.

The North Korean parade comes as talk of a similar demonstration in the U.S. is heating up. Trump has directed officials to plan a military parade for him, which the Pentagon and White House have confirmed is in the planning stages.

Lawmakers and former administration officials have criticized the president’s desire for a parade, with some calling it “totalitarian.”

Adm. James Stavridis, a retired NATO commander, said Wednesday that the U.S. does not need a “North Korean-style” parade to prove that “we are the best military in the world.”

Many of the president’s critics have said a parade is unnecessary, urging the president to instead spend the money on other needs, like health care for troops. Officials said a parade of the desired scale could cost millions of dollars.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) also hit Trump over the parade, saying Wednesday that “confidence is silent and insecurity is loud.”

“We’re not North Korea, we’re not Russia and we're not China, and I don’t want to be,” he said. “And for that reason, I would be against flaunting our strength. We don’t need to; everybody knows we have it."