Foreign journalists visiting North Korea told to prepare for 'big and important event'

Rachel Middleton
Yeonmi Park

Foreign journalists in North Korea have been told to prepare for a "big and important event" on Thursday (13 April). There are no indications as to what the event is about nor whether it is in any way linked to the tensions in the region stemming from Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang to cover the country's biggest national day called the Day of the Sun, as it marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim II Sung on 15 April.

Trending: Return to Fukushima: Never-before-seen photos from inside the red nuclear exclusion zone

Reuters said that announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key events, referring to how foreign journalists in 2016 were forced to go through hours of investigation by North Korean officials for a pop concert to mark the finale of the ruling Workers' Party congress.

The news agency however noted that tensions in the region are at a historic high, as a US Navy strike group heads towards the western Pacific and North Korea warning off the US of a possible nuclear attack if it shows any signs of aggression.

Don't miss: Cambridge teacher chained naked pupil to radiator with a dog collar

Pyongyang said that the US naval deployment only showed that it was right in developing its nuclear weapons programme for self-defence or in a pre-emptive strike.

On Wednesday, foreign journalists in North Korea were told that their pre-arranged schedule had been cancelled and were informed to meet instead early on Thursday for a "big and important event."

Most popular: Watch traffic police officers chase runaway pig, which then chases jogger

Visits by foreign journalists to North Korea are rare and heavily coordinated, with security checks at events attended by its Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un especially rigorous, Reuters reports.

It says the rogue state often uses visits by foreign journalists to show off its new construction projects. The news agency noted that in recent weeks, finishing touches were being made to the skyscraper-lined Ryomyong street in central Pyongyang.

North Korea daily life

Photos of daily life in North Korea as Pyongyang prepares parade for Kim Il-sung's birthday

You may be interested in:

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes