North Korea prepares for country's biggest holiday as regional tensions rising

While tensions between his country and the United States appeared to be escalating rapidly, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a high-profile appearance in Pyongyang on Thursday — to cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of a new highrise district.

100,000 people gathered to celebrate the opening of a new highrise district

CBC's Saša Petricic reports from the streets of Pyongyang 1:17

While tensions between his country and the United States appeared to be escalating rapidly, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made an appearance in front of reporters in Pyongyang on Thursday — not to denounce Washington, but to cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of a new highrise district.

CBC's Sasa Petricic is in Pyongyang, travelling with a North Korean government representative.

More than 100,000 people gathered at the event, which is part of a run-up to Saturday's 105th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung — the country's most important holiday.

Nothing official has been announced, but a large-scale military parade is expected Saturday.

North Korea has a history of connecting landmark construction projects to important political dates.

The most recent example is another new street, Mirae Street, which was built in time for the 65th anniversary in 2015 of the founding of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with some of the country's high-ranking military and government officials, waves during an opening ceremony of a newly constructed residential complex in Pyongyang on Thursday. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

With files from CBC