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North Korea anniversary drawing foreign visitors, state media says

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea anniversary drawing foreign visitors, state media says
North Korea may be seeking maximum media exposure ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean government. EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Sept. 7 (UPI) -- North Korea is making connections between an upcoming national anniversary and foreign visitors who have been invited to the celebrations in Pyongyang.

Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun published photographs of foreign groups and civic organizations visiting the regime on Friday, ahead of a planned military parade on Sunday.

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The photographs did not include members of foreign governments who could potentially attend the anniversary parade that will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean government, according to South Korean news service News 1.

North Korea may be seeking maximum media exposure ahead of the anniversary.

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CNN reporter Will Ripley and others recently uploaded photos of foreign journalists in Beijing, waiting to board an Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang.

More than 100 journalists from Japan alone are planning to cover the North Korea anniversary from the North Korean capital.

Pyongyang has increased the number of flights between China and North Korea to accommodate the visitors, according to News 1.

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Kim Jong Un is expected to attend the ceremonies.

North Korea has not observed the Sept. 9 anniversary since 2013, and the parade is likely to take place in Kim Il Sung Square.

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South Korea unification ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters Friday military rallies and cultural events will take place, including North Korea's "mass games."

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Beijing-based tour operators like Koryo Tours are promoting travel to North Korea during the games with tour packages that cost as much as $1,500 per person, according to its website.

North Korea is hosting the public event following a visit from a South Korean delegation to Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un met with the delegates and has said he seeks to denuclearize during U.S. President Donald Trump's first term. Trump publicly thanked Kim Jong Un on Twitter Thursday.

In an interview with Indonesian newspaper Kompas, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would like all sides to settle an end-of-war declaration by the end of 2018.

The United States and North Korea did not sign a peace treaty following the 1950-53 Korean War.

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