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North Korea boosts celebratory mood for founding anniversary

SEOUL

North Korea on Wednesday ramped up the celebratory mood ahead of its founding anniversary this week amid speculation that Pyongyang is preparing a military parade.

Earlier, the official Rodong Sinmun reported on greetings delivered to leader Kim Jong-un from heads of foreign states on its front page, along with articles on flowers sent from foreign embassies stationed in Pyongyang to celebrate the state founding anniversary that falls on Thursday.

The paper also reported on concerts, forums, photo exhibitions, and other events organized in Pyongyang and overseas to mark the upcoming anniversary.

North Korea appears to be bolstering the celebratory mood and national solidarity ahead of Thursday’s anniversary at a time when it is struggling with the fallout from the protracted fight against the coronavirus pandemic and border controls taking a toll on its already anemic economy.

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Speculation is also mounting North Korea could hold a military parade on the occasion of the anniversary. Earlier, a large number of troops were reportedly observed in Pyongyang, raising the possibility a military parade could be held in the days to come.

The possibility of a military parade in North Korea draws attention as North Korea recently warned of a “serious security crisis” in protest over the combined military exercise staged last month by South Korea and the United States.

North Korea usually uses such national anniversaries to hold military parades and showcase its state-of-the-art weaponry.

Last October, North held a massive military parade to mark the 75th party founding anniversary and unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and several other advanced military assets.

The North’s latest military parade was held in January right after its rare party congress. Leader Kim attended the event and pledged to bolster the country’s nuclear arsenal.

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