North Korea continues threats amid celebration

A boy holds a toy gun while his grandmother watches a mass folk dance in front of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, 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. (Alexander F. Yuan)
April 15, 2013 12:32:55 AM PDT
As residents fill the streets in celebration of their country's founder, there are new threats from North Korea's new leader putting the U.S. and South Korea on high alert.

In North Korea Monday morning, celebrations mark the 101st birthday of founder Kim Il Sung, the nation's biggest holiday. Statues of the leader and his son, Kim Jong Il were unveiled Sunday as tens of thousands turned out in the streets of Pyongyang to pay respects.

"Although the situation is tense, people have got bright faces and are very happy." said one North Korean woman.

The celebratory mood comes as the north's new 'Musudan' missile keeps the region on edge. A launch still expected at any moment.

Keeping the standoff hot, Kim Jong Un's government Sunday doubled down on the threats, promising all-out war with the U.S. and more higher-quality nuclear weapons.

Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry said there is still hope for peace that the U.S. wants to avoid confrontation, but remains on alert. "The United States will do what is necessary to defend our allies, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the region against these provocations. But our choice is to negotiate."

The north has rejected offers for peace talks calling it a "cunning ploy." But to many South Koreans, this is a familiar pattern.

On Sunday in Seoul, music sensation 'Psy' drew huge crowds for a concert, defying the looming threat.

U.S. and South Korean officials believe Kim Jong Un could drag out the threat of a missile launch for some time. Though many experts expect he will have to do something to bolster his image at home.


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