North Korea’s soldiers mostly carry fake weapons during their mass-scale parades, a former US intelligence officer has said.
Michael Pregent believes many of the arms flaunted by menacing-looking North Korean troops during their displays are dummies, and claims even their sunglasses wouldn’t be fit for combat.
Pregent was asked to look at photographs from an April 15 military parade in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
He suggested many of the guns were not real, and hinted many may have even been given toys, in a move designed to boast their strength to the world.
‘This was more about sending a message than being combat effective,’ Pregent told Fox News, who now serves as an adjunct fellow at the conservative think-tank, the Hudson Institute.
The parade was held to mark the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, the late grandfather of the country’s current ruler, Kim Jong-Un.
Images from the parade show what appear to be North Korean ‘commandos’ carrying AK-47 assault rifles with attached grenade-launchers.
But Pregent says that the objects seen affixed to the rifles are really ‘helical’ magazines designed to store bullets in a spiral shape.
Pregent says these magazines are often faulty since they frequently jam.
He also doubts that the AK-47s are even loaded since North Korea is believed to have serious shortages of domestically produced ammunition.
Pregent says many of the accessories worn by the troops are also far short of military-grade.
The sunglasses worn by the ‘special ops commandos’ are regular, flat-face frames that offer little protection for the eyes.
Soldiers in Western countries use specially tailored ‘ballistic safety glasses’ that wrap around the head.
Then there are the projectiles the troops attach to the end of their rifles.
Pregent says that these ‘weapons’ are ‘laughable’ because ‘you can see the plastic is over the muzzle.’
Though he concedes North Korea may have a substantial RPG capability, Pregent says that the soldiers on display during the parade were most likely given toy missiles ‘because Kim Jong-Un doesn’t want them to launch one at the viewing stand.’
Other troops marching appear to be holding silver-plated rifles, but Pregent believes ‘these are most likely painted.’