Is today D-Day for North Korea?

Is today the day?
FOR weeks, Kim Jong-un has made increasingly belligerent threats against South Korea and the US. Up until today it's been aggressive rhetoric.
But today that could change, because today is no ordinary day.

Today is April 15, the birthday of North Korean founder and 'Eternal Leader' Kim Il-sung. He would have been 101.

Kim Jong-un is expected to mark the special day the only way that would make his grandfather proud: blowing up lots of stuff.

It's long been a tradition to celebrate Kim Il-sung's birthday as a national holiday in North Korea.

APTOPIX North Korea

He used to mark the occasion by rounding up "ideological offenders" and sending them to prison. Now the celebration de jour is more forceful and military.

Which brings us back to the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula. If Kim Jong-un has been posturing for weeks, and no one knows if and when he plans to press the big red button, wouldn't it make sense that he'd do something today?

There have been reports of nuclear armament and long-range missiles capable of reaching Darwin. But it's also likely that Kim Jong-un will just fire off a test mile into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea's missiles

Perhaps it's a face-saving measure, perhaps it's just a nod to his grandfather. But history suggests he's bound to do something.

The Kims love a good April. In 1984, they tested a ballistic missile. In 1992 they revealed their nuclear program to the world. In 1997 Kim Jong-il promoted 123 generals on his father's birthday.

The trend has continued more recently, too. In 2006, Kim Jong-il threatened a nuclear test on April 14. In 2009, and last year, North Korea launched a "satellite". That's just cute talk for "missile test".

Curiously enough, while the world continues to wait on North Korea's next step, it's just been business as usual in the rogue state: marathons and gala concerts.

North Korea literally trotted out athletes from around the world for a marathon through the streets of its capital - suggesting its concerns of an imminent military crisis might not be as dire as its official pronouncements proclaim.

In other developments, the US and Japan appear more keen than North Korea about restarting talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program and the London School of Economics is furious at the BBC for using its students as cover to get into the secretive nation.

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