North Korea announced Friday that it plans to launch a satellite into space using a long-range rocket, The Post’s Chico Harlan reports. But the country says not to worry, as the launch is simply for a birthday party — to mark the centenary of founder Kim Il Sung’s birth.
The reclusive country, at odds with much of the world, has celebrated its leaders’ birthdays in over-the-top fashion before. But usually the festivities are confined within its borders.
This time, the celebration has sparked anger from South Korea’s foreign ministry, which called the rocket test a “grave provocative act against peace and stability,” and from the U.S. State Department, which called it a “direct violation” of Pyongyang’s international commitments.
North Korean leaders’ past birthday celebrations, after the jump.
Kim Jong-Il didn’t let death get in the way of a 70th birthday celebration to remember. On the Dear Leader’s birthday Feb. 16, dubbed the “Day of the Shining Star,” an 18-foot statue of Kim Jong-Il was revealed, as well as postage stamps, commemorative coins and gold medals bearing his face. State media reported supernatural events, including double rainbows, weeping bears and shrieking magpies.
Kim Jong Eun, who took over as leader of North Korea after his father’s death, celebrated his birthday in January with the airing of a TV show about his military expertise, the Wall Street Journal reports. The show included footage showing Kim riding a tank:
Another troubling moment from the video: Kim said he was ready to “go to war” if Japan or the U.S. tried to shoot down a long-range missile.
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