TODAY   |  April 11, 2013

N. Korea to celebrate year of Kim Jong Un in power

Even as North Korea continues to threaten nuclear action, Pyongyang is decorating the streets, preparing to celebrate Kim Jong Un’s first year in power. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> also this morning, we're following that tense situation in north korea and an expected missile test. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel is monitoring the situation for us from seoul. richard, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie, secretary kerry arrives here tomorrow. he'll also visit china and japan. and it's likely while he's in the region, north korea will carry out this missile test seen here as a provocation. while most of asia and u.s. forces in the region are on alert, pyongyang is preparing for a party, decorating the streets even as it threatens nuclear war . it was one year ago today that kim jong -un came to power. we were there to witness his first speech, praising the military. for the parades and the rollouts of military hardware. since then, kim has proven to be more reckless than his father kim jong -il. analysts suggest he may be trying to prove himself to his generals. more parades are expected this weekend. a widely anticipated missile test could be part of them. there is another way to look at this crisis. unlike south korea , which has a modern economy, north korea barely exports anything except missile and nuclear technology . and experts here say the missile test is also something of a product demonstration for rogue states that want to buy.

>> reporter: last year, iran and north korea agreed to cooperate in science and technology . u.s. military officials believe the two collaborate on their nuclear programs.

>> north korea has gone out of its way to be a model of how to acquire, how to test nuclear weapons , and it can be a model of misbehavior by any future nuclear road.

>> north korea shows off the weapons for prestige and to be taken seriously. but also it seems for cash.

>> reporter: north korea has sold missiles to iran, helped syria build a nuclear reactor until israel blew it up. the question this crisis is raising is what can the u.s. do about it? natalie?

>> richard engel there in seoul,