North Korea to stage mass games to propagandize its own glory

North Korea will hold massive propaganda performances aimed at bolstering domestic support for the regime twice this year, in April and August, a pro-North Korea newspaper reported Friday.

The North stages what is known as the "mass games" almost every year, but canceled the event last year because of heavy floods that ruined roads and railroads. Normally, citizens are transported from across the country to attend the event staged in the capital, Pyongyang.

This year's performances - which come after the North's first-ever nuclear test last year - will be modified to reflect "changes of time that have brought glory to (North Korea) in the face of the U.S. threat and pressure," North Korean Vice Culture Minister Song Sok Hwan told Japan-based Chosun Sinbo.

"It will be a performance that boasts to the whole world ... our people's unity and strong national power," he said.

Students have already begun training for the performance and new equipment, including computer-operated lighting devices, will be used for the event, according to the report.

The mass games feature thousands of synchronized gymnasts and performers in a stadium where the stands are turned into a giant animated mosaic by children flipping pages of multicolored books, the AP says.

The event pays tribute to the legacy of the country's founding ruler, Kim Il Sung, in an attempt to inspire support for the regime led by his son, Kim Jong Il.

The event also offers a rare chance for foreigners to visit the reclusive North, also helping the impoverished country to earn hard currency, the AP reports.

In 2005, hundreds of South Koreans traveled on charter flights to Pyongyang for the show, and even American tourists have been allowed into the country to join the audience.

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