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North Korea skips military parade on Kim Il Sung anniversary

North Korean state media said Thursday the country marked the 109th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung with celebrations in Pyongyang. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE
North Korean state media said Thursday the country marked the 109th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung with celebrations in Pyongyang. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE

April 15 (UPI) -- North Korea marked the 109th birth anniversary of former leader Kim Il Sung on Thursday without a military parade.

State media did not confirm a Kim Jong Un visit to the mausoleum of his late grandfather.

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Pyongyang's media did not report military demonstrations, and armed forces were not depicted marching in a parade on the anniversary. In 2017, another year of tensions with the United States and South Korea, North Korea displayed long-range missiles as soldiers marched across Kim Il Sung Square.

South Korean authorities said Thursday that they had no comment on North Korean developments, according to Yonhap.

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Kim Joon-rak, a spokesman for Seoul's joint chiefs of staff, said there is "close cooperation" between U.S. and South Korean intelligence. Both sides are closely monitoring related trends and maintaining a "firm posture of readiness," Kim said.

Kim Joon-rak also said he had no comment on North Korean activity at Sinpho or Sinpo Shipyard. U.S. analysts have said a floating dry dock and a submersible test barge were moved for "possible preparations" to stage a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

North Korea's Korea Central Television reported Thursday the regime was celebrating the Kim Il Sung birth anniversary, also known as the Day of the Sun, with "evening parties and festivals" for youth groups and students.

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Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun claimed the North Korean people missed their deceased leader. North Korean media images indicate Pyongyang was decorated with signs and slogans praising Kim Il Sung as the "Great Leader" and "Eternal Leader."

South Korea's unification ministry said the public gatherings are an indicator of North Korean "confidence" that its fight against COVID-19 has worked, according to Yonhap.

Kim Il Sung was an anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter during the colonial period, and North Korea is critical of Japanese policy.

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KCNA said Thursday that the country disapproves of new Japanese textbooks that mark the disputed islets of Dokdo as Japanese territory.

South Korean officials, including Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, also have raised concerns, according to South Korean newspaper Maeil Business.

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