N Korea air show thumbs nose at sanc­tions

The Myanmar Times - - World -

JUST weeks af­ter car­ry­ing out its fifth nu­clear test, North Korea put on an un­prece­dented civil­ian and air force dis­play at the coun­try’s firstever pub­lic avi­a­tion show.

The two-day Wonsan In­ter­na­tional Friend­ship Air Fes­ti­val was held at the newly re­fur­bished Kalma Air­port.

The fes­ti­val was al­ready sched­uled be­fore North Korea con­ducted its fifth nu­clear test on Septem­ber 9, trig­ger­ing in­ter­na­tional out­rage and threats of fur­ther sanc­tions against the iso­lated nu­clear-armed coun­try.

The show kicked off with an aerial dis­play by a US Hughes MD-500 mil­i­tary he­li­copter – one of a num­ber ac­quired in the 1980s by us­ing a third coun­try to cir­cum­vent US ex­port re­stric­tions.

This was fol­lowed by an ex­tended solo ac­ro­batic dis­play by the most ad­vanced air­craft in the North Korean air force – an early-model Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-29 Ful­crum.

The rest of the air force fleet is largely com­posed of an­ti­quated Chi­nese-built copies of the MiG-17, MiG19 and MiG-21.

North Korea’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try was tar­geted for sanc­tions af­ter its fourth nu­clear test on Jan­uary 6.

But a re­cent re­port by the Nau­tilus In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity con­cluded that do­mes­tic sup­ply of jet fuel was prob­a­bly ad­e­quate to keep air force air­craft fly­ing, es­pe­cially given their very low an­nual ex­er­cise rate. –

Photo: AFP

Parachutists per­form on the sec­ond day of the Wonsan Friend­ship Air Fes­ti­val in Wonsan, North Korea, on Septem­ber 25.

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