Commercial satellite imagery reveals that a small building surrounded by a high wall has been built in Kim Il Sung Square.
High-resolution imagery from Friday, December 18, shows the building is at the western end of the square, right across the street from the viewing platform used by Kim Jong Un and party officials during parades. A second building is located adjacent to it but outside of the walled-in area.
Medium-resolution imagery indicates that construction on these buildings began sometime between December 8 and 12. The purpose of the buildings is unclear, although they could be related to the upcoming Eighth Party Congress that is expected to take place in January.
Earlier in December, Daily NK reported that North Korean authorities planned military and civilian parades to mark the event, which would almost certainly take place in Kim Il Sung Square.
At the Mirim Parade Training Ground in east Pyongyang, where parade rehearsals often take place, several formations of marching troops and a number of cargo trucks and tracked vehicles are present. This activity is consistent with parade preparations, although at a much smaller scale than what took place ahead of the October 10 military parade.
Figure 1. Close-up of structures at Kim Il Sung Square.
Figure 2. Construction of structures occurred between December 8 and 12.
Figure 3. Troop formations and assorted vehicles assembled at Mirim Parade Training Ground.
Figure 4. Marching troop formation and group of trailer trucks.
The Party Congress is the highest meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea and takes place at irregular intervals. The last was in 2016 and the one before that in 1980.