North Korea marked the 72nd anniversary of the Workers Party on Tuesday without a widely feared major provocation.
Instead the North kept up a barrage of verbal threats, with the official Rodong Sinmun daily urging North Koreans on its front page to “advance the final victory in the anti-U.S. war by upholding” the doctrine of pursuing nuclear arms and economic growth in tandem.
A Cheong Wa Dae official told the Chosun Ilbo, “We consider Oct. 18 the next critical moment since that is when China’s Communist Party Congress starts.”
Other government officials here said poor visibility and overcast skies on Tuesday would have made a missile launch difficult.
Chinese President Xi Jinping kicks off his second term with the start of China’s 19th Communist Party Congress, and North Korea often uses provocations to draw its ally’s attention to itself during major Chinese events.
North Korean troops have repeatedly practiced paragliding into the command center of combined South Korean and U.S. forces in Seoul recently, according to a military source here.
Paragliding is a leisure activity in South Korea but seen by North Korean special troops as a new means of infiltrating the South.
“The North’s special forces practiced for several days in mid-September paragliding to infiltrate and seize the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul,” the source said.
The special troops were practicing infiltration into a mockup of the CFC headquarters at a training ground, the source added.
Paragliding equipment weights only 3 to 4 kg, so it can be easily carried around mountainous terrain.
It would not be easy to detect North Korean paragliders with radar if they infiltrated at dead of night.
But the range is short and it is difficult to control the flight accurately.