N.Korea set to mark late founder's 111th birth anniversary

International |  IANS  | Published :

Seoul, April 15 (IANS) North Korea appears set to hold celebrations for the 111th birth anniversary of the country's late founder Kim Il-sung on Saturday with dance performances and fireworks in Pyongyang.

The North's state-run Korean Central Television said that a series of events will be held at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the Day of the Sun holiday later in the day, reports Yonhap News Agency.

But it did not mention large-scale performances and events.

As the North usually marks every fifth and 10th political anniversaries with major celebrations, Kim Jong-un, the North's leader and grandson of the late founder, is unlikely to attend the event.

He previously appeared at military parades that marked the 100th and 105th birth anniversaries of his late grandfather in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

Kim Jong-un also attended a mass rally last year to mark his grandfather's birthday.

Pyongyang has revved up a festive mood for the late founder's birthday with a variety of arts events and commemorative stamps of its late leader.

The anniversary comes as North Korea has been ratcheting up its provocations.

On Friday, North Korea said it has launched a new solid-fuel Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time.

The North launched the new ICBM on Thursday, guided by its leader, to confirm the performance of "high-thrust solid-fuel engines for multi-stage missiles", according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The latest launch also came amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula as the North has not responded to routine cross-border calls through inter-Korean liaison and military communication lines since April 7.

Pyongyang has recently conducted other major weapons tests, such as the launch of the Hwasong-17 ICBM on March 16 and what it claimed to be underwater nuclear attack drones, in protest against combined springtime military drills between South Korea and the US.

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