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N. Korea likely to pick eventful April for possible provocation: watchers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

North Korea may stage a surprise provocation this month when the communist country marks several key national anniversaries, as it did in the past, observers said Tuesday.

Tuesday marks the 1993 selection of Kim Jong-il as North Korea's second leader, succeeding his father and North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. The Supreme People's Assembly approved the succession of Kim on April 9 that year.

The birthday of Kim Il-sung, known as the Day of the Sun, falls on April 15. Last year, the North held a large-scale military parade to mark the centenary of the founder's birth, which is celebrated as one of the most important national holidays in the communist country.

The North also celebrates the establishment of the North Korean People's Army on April 25, 1932 by Kim Il-sung. Other April events also include the birthday of Kim Il-sung's mother.

North Korea observers in Seoul said Pyongyang will likely find ways to celebrate the first anniversary in April of the current leader's assumption of top state positions. Last year, Kim Jong-un was given the titles of the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea on April 11 and the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission on April 13, following his father's death in December 2011.

Commemorating the centenary of the birth of the founder, the North launched the long-range missile Unha 3 on April last year, although the three-stage rocket exploded into pieces. The country also fired off a long-range rocket in April 2009, which was unsuccessful.

Analysts said the country may likely attempt another eventful provocation this April, possibly a long-range rocket launch or a nuclear test. Seoul has recently said the North moved one of its middle-range missiles to the east coast, possibly to conduct a test launch soon.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130411/n-korea-likely-pick-eventful-april-possible-provocation-watchers