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After weeks of NKorean fury, calm on key holiday

April 15, 2013 • World News


A North Korean child covers the eyes of her father as she sits on his shoulders watching mass folk dancing in front of Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday, April 15, 2013. Oblivious to international tensions over a possible North Korean missile launch, Pyongyang residents spilled into the streets Monday to celebrate a major national holiday, the birthday of their first leader, Kim Il Sung. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Koreans danced in plazas and snacked on peanuts as part of holiday festivities while the Supreme Command led by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered more of the fiery language that has made the international community wary of an imminent missile launch or other provocation.

Early Tuesday, state media said the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army issued an ultimatum to South Korea demanding an apology for “hostile acts” and threatening retaliation at any time. Such warnings are routine but do not often come from North Korea’s top leadership.

In Seoul, the Defense Ministry said it received no such ultimatum, noting that there is no line of communication between the Koreas.

Meanwhile, North Koreans were taking a second day off to mark the birthday of late President Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founder. Monday’s celebrations capital featured colorful dance parties, soccer matches and the traditional laying of flowers at his statue. Families were enjoying the day off, children scooting around on inline skates and slurping up shaved ice treats.

Kim Jong Un on Monday presided over basketball and volleyball competitions between military academies billed as “anti-American games” by the state media. Later, he and other top officials watched an orchestral performance at a new theater in downtown Pyongyang.

The birthday passed without any major provocations as Login to read more

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