BEIJING, The check-in counter of Air Koryo at Beijing Capital International Airport bustled with foreign tourists and journalists heading for Pyongyang on Thursday, three days ahead of North Korea's 70th founding anniversary.

The North Korean flag carrier also temporarily added two flights from Beijing to the North's capital at noon and 7 p.m., along with its 2 p.m. regular flight.

Most of the Pyongyang-bound passengers were group tourists and journalists who want to see or cover various events to mark the anniversary.

An Australian tourist said he purchased a Sept. 9 tour package in the hopes of seeing a military parade and mass games there.

"I'm so excited as I've never been to North Korea," another tourist said.

A journalist, who has visited Pyongyang several times, said he obtained a visa for 17 days of stay this time, unlike visas for just four to five days previously, adding, "I think I can cover anniversary events like a military parade well this time as the North appears more aggressive than before."

Meanwhile, former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman, who has a personal friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Japan's wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki have been known to visit Pyongyang during the anniversary.

Source: Yonhap News Agency