North Korea cel­e­bra­tions may in­clude satel­lite launch


PY­ONGYANG, NORTH KOREA— China just put on a big mil­i­tary pa­rade, a few months af­ter Rus­sia did the same. But there’s no coun­try more adept at putting on elab­o­rate, mas­sive dis­plays of state power than North Korea, the undis­puted goose-step­ping cap­i­tal of the world, and next month, Py­ongyang will stage what is likely to be its big­gest cel­e­bra­tion in years.

North Korea is al­ready in high gear as it pre­pares to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of its rul­ing party.

The gov­ern­ment has been typ­i­cally mum on its plans, though a mil­i­tary pa­rade and ap­pear­ance by leader Kim Jong Un would seem to be pretty safe bets.

Se­nior of­fi­cials speak­ing in in­ter­views with the North’s state-run media over the past few days have dropped hints that the real fire­works might not hap­pen in Py­ongyang at all. On Mon­day, the head of North Korea’s space agency said the coun­try has the right to launch rock­ets any time it sees fit and sug­gested Py­ongyang is pre­par­ing to put its sec­ond satel­lite into or­bit. The North claims its rock­ets are meant for sci­en­tific pur­poses. Washington, Seoul and their al­lies be­lieve they are used for test­ing long-range-mis­sile tech­nol­ogy, which it is banned from do­ing un­der UN sanc­tions.

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