Flowers but No Nukes at North Korean Celebration

The world holds its breath as Pyongyang throws an anniversary party
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 9, 2017 9:30 AM CDT
Flowers but No Nukes at North Korean Celebration
North Korean soldiers salute at Munsu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea to mark the 69th anniversary of the country's founding Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.    (Uncredited)

North Koreans on Saturday celebrated another public holiday with familiar routines, laying flowers and bowing in front of statues and portraits of past leaders while the outside world kept a close watch amid speculation that another missile test is near, the AP reports. South Korea's government earlier said North Korea could potentially mark the 69th founding anniversary with its third test of a developmental intercontinental ballistic missile. But no weapons test was detected from North Korea as of Saturday afternoon, as people in the capital of Pyongyang went through customary practices of showing loyalty to late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the father of third-generation leader Kim Jong Un.

This year's anniversary comes just after North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date last weekend, which it claimed as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its ICBMs. The North flight-tested its developmental Hwasong-14 ICBMs twice in July, and analysis of flight data suggested that the missiles could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected. The North has a history of marking significant dates with shows of military capability, but its recent tests have been seen as driven mainly by technological needs amid an accelerating effort to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal. North Korea often marks big anniversaries every five years with giant public celebrations. Last year it held a nuclear test on this September anniversary. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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