SEOUL, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un‘s celebratory weekend began early Friday when the North Korean leader agreed to accept a “global statesman” award from Indonesia’s Sukarno Center, as hundreds of military trucks assembled for what could be the largest parade in North Korean history.
The award, previously given to Mahatma Gandhi, and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, is conferred to world leaders working toward peace and development. Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, the second daughter of Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno, had said in July Kim was being recognized for being “consistent in carrying out the ideals of the great leader Kim Il Sung, which is to fight imperialism.” Kim, however, continues to be the target of international condemnation for arbitrarily detaining and purging North Koreans.
On Friday, Pyongyang’s state media outlet KCNA reported an award ceremony was held at Mansudae Assembly Hall, and the award was delivered by an Indonesian delegate who is in Pyongyang for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers’ Party. Kim Yong Nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, was in attendance, according to Yonhap.
The military parade to be held on Saturday is appearing on satellite imagery to be one of the largest parades in North Korean history, according to analyst Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., of 38 North.
Recent pictures from Oct. 6 showed that 800 tents, 700 trucks and 200 armored vehicles were assembled around Pyongyang, where the parade is to take place. Preparations began as early as May 2015, Bermudez wrote, and troops began by building 45 tents on the site of a helicopter base in the airbase formerly known as Mirim. The facility is a training ground for the parade and includes a replica of Kim Il Sung Square.
Bermudez wrote ballistic missile launchers could not be seen, but some equipment, including seven unmanned aerial vehicles on mobile launchers, were hidden behind camouflage tarps. The carriers are used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, according to Bermudez.