SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is expected to mark the upcoming birthday of late leader Kim Jong-il with the usual commemorative events rather than holding any special celebrations, the unification ministry said Friday.
Sunday marks the 78th birthday of the late leader and father of current leader Kim Jong-un. It is one of the country's biggest national holidays, as well as the birthday of Kim Il-sung, the North's late founding leader and grandfather of the current leader.
"North Korea is likely to hold celebrations at a scale similar to previous years after taking various situations into consideration," Cho Hey-sil, the ministry's deputy spokesperson, said in a regular press briefing.
The North tends to mark every fifth or tenth anniversary with larger-scale events, such as military provocations, including missile launches, or parades of troops, newly developed strategic weapons and other military hardware.
This year, the global outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus also appears to make it harder for Pyongyang to organize any massive public events.
"We will continue to keep our eyes on the situation," Cho added.