North Korea honored more than 47,000 veterans and “persons of merit” ahead of the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Korean War.

The official Korean Central News Agency said 47,075 veterans, anti-Japanese fighters, and “persons of merit who performed undying feats during the war and made big contributions to building a thriving nation after the war” were awarded with medals.

Pyongyang is gearing up for the celebration of the signing of the war armistice in 1953. A huge military parade will be held to commemorate the anniversary known as “Victory Day” in North Korea.

A large number of foreign journalists were invited to attend the celebrations, a shift from the regime’s reclusive policy.

Veterans from China, its main ally, were present in the festivities to commemorate China’s intervention in the Korean War or “Fatherland Liberation War” against the powerful US-led offensive.

The North Korean leader inaugurated a new cemetery for veterans deemed “heroes of the republic”.

Because the war was concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas have always remained technically at war, according to AFP.