North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung today as a nuclear-powered USA aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.
The parade, the annual highlight of North Korea's most important holiday, came amid growing global worries that North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching US shores.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn't speak to the thousands of soldiers and civilians gathered at a massive parade honoring his late grandfather on Saturday, but his expanding array of ballistic missiles made an emphatic statement.
US officials said Friday that the president's advisers weighed a range of ideas for how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, including military options and trying to overthrow the isolated communist dictatorship's leadership.
Global desk - North Korea has warned the USA not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks".
North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from near its submarine base in Sinpo on its east coast, but the launch failed, according to US and South Korean military officials.More news: Warriors' Durant (calf) starts in Game 4 return
Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.
The trucks that carried the missile canisters were Chinese ones that have been exported to North Korea's Forestry Ministry but have shown up in military parades like this one.
He mentioned a tweet Trump posted Tuesday, in which he said North Korea is "looking for trouble".
Kim described it as "the greatest success" at the time and said North Korea has "joined the front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability".
The attempted launch Sunday in North Korea came hours before Vice President Mike Pence, briefed about the situation while aboard Air Force Two, was set to arrive in South Korea. North Korean then fired the missile at a lofted angle for testing purposes.
South Korea says North Korea fires unidentified missile but test fails Video Watch: Kim Jong Un presides over enormous military parade Sideswipe: April 3: Too much to ask? .More news: Roberto Firmino seals victory for Liverpool at West Bromwich Albion
Missiles seem to have been the main theme of the giant parade, with Kim Jong-un taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces - the branch of North Korea's military that oversees the military arsenal.
The parade also featured the "Pukguksong-2", a land-based variant of the submarine-launched missile.
Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim Jong Un, addressed the packed square with a characteristically bellicose warning to the United States. Kim Il Sung's birthday is a huge deal in North Korea, so it's not like they put this whole thing together last minute just to piss off Trump, but there is a non-zero chance he will take it that way. But there had been fears that the isolated country would mark the Day of the Sun by conducting a nuclear test - in defiance of USA warnings not to.
"This approach to North Korea is relatively new", said James Kim of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.
China, North Korea's only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.
"It's not hard to see that ever since the United States and Republic of Korea chose to deploy THAAD, the situation has not become harmonious but has become more tense", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.More news: Novartis sets sights on return to growth in 2018
The administration's emphasis, the officials said, will be on increasing pressure on North Korea with the help of China, North Korea's dominant trade partner.
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