North Korea Prepares for a Milestone Year

The government of North Korea recently invited dozens of foreign journalists into its secretive country to cover the 100th birthday celebration for founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. Among pageants and openings, the event drawing the most attention is the scheduled launch of a three-stage Unha-3 rocket carrying a weather satellite. The launch is already drawing criticism from Western governments: If successful, it could demonstrate North Korea's capacity to produce an intercontinental missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Despite their official invitation, foreign photographers are still restricted -- escorted wherever they go and unable to photograph more than they can see within selected facilities or from the windows of buses and trains. As further images emerge from the celebrations of Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday, I will follow up with a second post.

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