North Korea marks founder's 105th birth anniversary

Indo Asian News Service

Pyongyang, April 15 (IANS) North Korea on Saturday kicked off grand celebrations marking the 105th birth anniversary of its founder, Kim Il Sung.

A grand military parade in the heart of Pyongyang is underway where it is expected the North Korean regime will show off some of its latest arsenal, CNN reported.

Pictures on state television showed thousands of soldiers marching in formation alongside tanks, balloons and enormous crowds.

Leader Kim Jong-un was seen clapping and smiling from a reviewing box.

At one point, the soldiers directed a chant toward him.

"We will die for you", they yelled.

The birth anniversary called "The Day of the Sun" is a public holiday usually marked by grand military parades, mass celebrations and other large displays of national pride.

North Koreans have been seen practicing choreographed dance routines in their brightly coloured national dress, reports CNN.

Kim Il Sung died in 1994 at the age of 82, after leading his country from its establishment in 1948 until his death.

However, this year's celebrations come at a tense time on the Korean Peninsula, days after a US strike group was deployed to the region and amid expectations of another missile or nuclear test by Pyongyang.

North Korean state media warned that such "reckless acts of aggression" would be countered with "whatever methods the US wants to take".