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DPRK takes a break to celebrate birthday of founder Kim Il-sung

中国日报网 2013-04-16 11:20

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Oblivious to international tensions over a possible missile launch, residents in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea spilled onto the streets on Monday to celebrate a major national holiday, the 101st birthday of their first leader, Kim Il-sung.

Girls in red and pink jackets skipped along streets festooned with celebratory banners and flags, and boys on inline skates took a break from skating to slurp up bowls of shaved ice as the DPRK began a three-day holiday.

Republic of Korea Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said on Monday that the DPRK is thought to be ready to launch missiles, but he noted that there are no signs of preparations for a full-scale war.

His comments came amid rising expectations that the DPRK would launch missiles during the celebrations of Kim Il-sung's birthday.

Pyongyang was believed to have moved intermediate-range Musudan missiles to its east coast, while Scud and Nodong missiles were also believed to have been mounted on mobile launchers.

The Musudan missile is estimated to have a range of about 3,500 km and can reach the US military base in Guam. The Scud is estimated to have a range of between 300 and 500 km, and the range for Nodong is estimated at 1,300 to 1,500 km.

Elsewhere in the region, however, the focus remained on the threat of a missile launch as US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a tour to coordinate Washington's response with Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.

Officials in the ROK, the United States and Japan say intelligence indicates that the DPRK, fresh off an underground nuclear test in February, appears ready to launch a medium-range missile.

While the tension continued to dominate headlines abroad, Pyongyang's own media gave little indication on Monday of how high the tensions are.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.

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