North Korea is expected to hold a huge military parade on Sunday – the first since negotiations with the US over denuclearisation began – as the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding.
Previous parades have featured missile launchers, but including them on this occasion could be diplomatically provocative.
“This is an internal event for North Korea: it’s their anniversary, they want to celebrate that,” Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, told Sky News.
“But by having a major military parade, it could be seen by outsiders as a provocation.
“So North Korea needs to strike a balance between (that and) enhancing their domestic morale.
“They also want to send a big signal – that they want to now focus on economic development.”
The streets of Pyongyang have been swept, and walls and buildings painted ahead of the anniversary.
High-level delegations from China and Russia have arrived in the capital.
The celebrations are expected to include a revival of the mass games – a large scale performance involving tens of thousands of North Korean people, last held in 2013.
We were told they have been practising for months after school and work.
The events generally follow themes of history and revolution. This year’s performance is called “glorious country”.
Tourists from China and Europe have been buying tickets that start at about £90, and rise to more than £700 for VIP seating.
The anniversary comes at a crucial time during talks over denuclearisation.
For a long time, the US and North Korea were at an apparent impasse, with the US asking for a comprehensive list of North Korea’s nuclear facilities, and Pyongyang demanding a formal end to the Korean War.
A proper peace treaty was never signed – neither side has seemed willing to give way.
But over the last few days there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity from Pyongyang.
A third summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in has been confirmed for later this month.
Mr Kim also sent a message to Donald Trump, who tweeted his thanks in return.