Monday, 18 December, 2017

North Korea celebrated its founder's birthday with an extravagant military display

Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 19:28

Amid rising regional tensions, Pyongyang residents have.

"North Korea is just trying to gain more attention and gain more leverage", he said.

Hundreds of flatbed trucks packed with soldiers lined the banks of the Taedong river ahead of a parade through the North Korean capital.

Kim Jong Un did not speak during the huge event, which celebrates the birthday of North Korea's founding ruler Kim Il Sung, but another top official, Choe Ryong Hae, warned that the North would stand up to any threat posed by the United States.

Goose-stepping soldiers and marching bands filled the square Saturday where North Korea's young leader reviewed tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and other weapons that rolled by.

Eye witnesses said long-range and submarine-based missiles were shown at the anniversary parade on Saturday.

It has carried out five nuclear tests - two of them a year ago - and multiple missile launches, one of which saw three rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month. An official from South Korea's Defense Ministry couldn't immediately confirm whether any of the rockets represented a new type of ICBM.

The parade may also feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

On display for the first time were what appeared to be submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which could be developed to house nuclear warheads capable of reaching targets around the world.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: "The time for action is now and by that we need to look at ways to put increased pressure on North Korea in order for it to recognise the reality that it needs to pursue denuclearisation".

"We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks", he said.

The reappearance of Kim Won-hong, the state security minister whom South Korean officials believed was purged earlier this year, also caught the attention of local authorities. South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea, as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

"China is ready to coordinate closely with Russia to help cool down as quickly as possible the situation on the peninsula and encourage the parties concerned to resume dialogue", Wang told Lavrov, referring to the stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear program that includes Russia, China and the United States.

He will also aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the USA will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

You may also recall the recent response to the USA and South Korea conducting drills with the USS Carl Vinson, a Navy supercarrier with nuclear capability, being involved.

North Korea has attempted to launch a missile near Sinpo, on its east coast, but the missile blew up nearly immediately, a U.S. military spokesman says.

North Korea has reportedly launched a missile on its east coast which has failed. An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force.