N Korea air show thumbs nose at sanctions
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. –
Parachutists perform on the second day of the Wonsan Friendship Air Festival in Wonsan, North Korea, on September 25.