When North Korea‘s founder Kim Il Sung was alive, he’d celebrate his birthday by imprisoning hundreds of thousands of “ideological offenders” or unveiling a blueprint for a “communist paradise.” His son and heir, Kim Jong Il, turned his father’s April 15 birthday into the closest thing to a religious holiday that an atheist, communist regime can have, resetting the calendar to Kim time by calculating the official date from his father’s birth day and year.
But the biggest birthday celebrations for Kim-the-first and Kim-the-second became shows of military force.
And now the latest in the line has taken up the tradition. Last year, after his father Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011, Kim Jong Un tested long-range missiles on April 8. This year, he’s going all out. Marking what would have been his grandfather’s 101st birthday, he’s tested a nuclear weapon and long-range missies, ripped up the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, threatened nuclear war against the United States, and warned foreigners in both North and South Korea to leave the peninsula or risk getting caught in the crossfire.
Here’s a selection of the most provocative North Korean actions in the first two weeks of April leading up to Kim Il Sung’s birthday:
Full dispatch here.