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North Korea celebrates dictator's birth with flowers, no missiles

11:03 AM, Apr 15, 2013   |    comments
People visit giant statues of the late North Korean leaders, Kim Il Sung, left, and his son Kim Jong Il, 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. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE ORG XMIT
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(USA TODAY) -- The wait continues to discover if North Korea will follow through on weeks of increasingly dire threats against South Korea, Japan and the United States, after the isolated nation marked a key holiday Monday with flowers and not with missile tests some in the region had feared.

Such tests, possibly from mobile launchers moved in recent weeks to North Korea's east coast, could still take place during or after the three-day public holiday to mark the 101st birth anniversary of regime founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, but Monday passed without incident.

Kim's grandson Kim Jung Un, 30, the third generation of the Kim family to rule North Korea, delivered floral baskets and "high tribute and humblest reverence" Monday to the embalmed bodies of Kim Il Sung, and his son Kim Jong Il, the younger Kim's father, reported the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Elsewhere in Pyongyang, the North's capital, hundreds of soldiers and citizens gathered in typically neat lines to offer flowers at two huge statues of the elder Kims,

 

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