U.S., Chinese and North Korean war veterans on Thursday joined North leader Kim Jong Un at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Kim, who took over as leader after his father Kim Jong Il's death in late 2011, and top military officials laid a wreath at a memorial to war veterans at a new cemetery in Pyongyang's outskirts.
The event starts official commemorations in North Korea for the milestone war anniversary Saturday. Earlier in the week, North Korea unveiled a new mass games performance with a Korean War theme and is expected to hold a military parade Saturday.
The three-year conflict ended in a truce on July 27, 1953, but is still called "Victory Day" in North Korea. Because there has been no peace treaty, the Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war.
In South Korea, members of the country's Naval Academy set sail Thursday on a six-month expedition to 14 countries, part of an effort to honor those who fought as part of U.S.-led U.N. forces.
The North invited the veterans from China, which fought on the North's side during the war and is its closest ally and source of economic aid.
Among the war veterans who attended Thursday's ceremony were retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner and retired Pvt. First Class Dick Bonelli of the U.S. Marines, who are in North Korea on a mission to revisit Jangjin County, better known to Americans as the Chosin Reservoir.
"I would like to meet some (North) Korean veterans to tell them how sorry I am for their fallen comrades, and for my fallen comrades," Bonelli said.