N. Korea forecast to unveil new Arirang mass games in July

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N. Korea forecast to unveil new Arirang mass games in July

North Korea is expected to unveil a revamped version of the Arirang festival in July when the country celebrates the 1953 truce that ended the Korean War, according to a travel agency in China.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours, specializing in tours to North Korea, has recently launched a new tour program to the communist country which includes a trip to the border village of Panmunjom, a war museum as well as the mausoleum of the ruling Kim family, according to the tour firm's Web site.

The tour program, which runs from July 25-30, may include admission to the national mass games although it has not been decided yet, the Web site said.

"There may also be the opportunity to see the mass games (although) the performance is not yet confirmed," read the posting which describes the tour program.

"We expect the games to run from 27th July to 9th September 2013 but as yet have received no official confirmation," the tour agency said in another posting on the Arirang mass games. "There is a possibility that a new form of Mass Games will be staged to mark this event," it said, referring to the 60th anniversary of the July 27 "war victory day" celebrated as a national holiday in the North.

The national holiday has been celebrated every year with gatherings of the country's governing party, the Cabinet and the military to celebrate the July 27 truce in 1953 that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The country has conducted major renovation work on a war museum and prepared other exhibitions ahead of the country's celebration of the day, which the country claims marks its victory in the civil war.

The Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two countries separated by a heavily fortified border.

The Arirang festival mainly features a mass gymnastics performance, designed to extol the governing Kim family. First held in 2002, the year marking the 90th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, it has been held every year since 2005 except for when the country suffered a devastating flood in 2006.

The new version is widely expected to place greater emphasis on the achievements of new leader Kim Jong-un, who took power after late leader and his father Kim Jong-il's sudden death in December 2011.

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