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N. Korea highlights late founder's feats ahead of his birthday

All Headlines 15:37 April 14, 2016

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday highlighted accomplishments by its late founder Kim Il-sung as it is set to celebrate the 104th birthday of the current leader's grandfather, the North's state media showed.

The North is poised to commemorate the "Day of the Sun" on Friday, the birthday of the North's founder Kim who died in 1994. Since 1997, Pyongyang has celebrated the anniversary with lavish festivals after designating his birthday a two-day national holiday.

The ruling party's official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, on Thursday filled all of its second page with color photos showing that he met with ordinary people and inspected many facilities during his lifetime.

The move comes amid speculation that North Korea has deployed one or two Musudan mid-range ballistic missiles to near the eastern port city for a possible launch to mark Kim's birthday.

The U.N. Security Council slapped its toughest sanctions yet on the North in March over its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year. The North is banned from launching ballistic missiles under a series of relevant U.N. resolutions.

North Korea is also ramping up efforts to prepare for the ruling party's first congress in over three decades in early May.

The North's newspaper reported on its front page that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been selected as a delegate for the military to the upcoming party congress.

The current leader's election is "an expression of absolute trust and intense loyalty by all party members and service personnel" of the Korean People's Army, the Korean Central News Agency said in its English dispatch.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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