North Korea rolls out missiles, other weaponry at parade

Apr 20, 2017, 09:14
North Korea rolls out missiles, other weaponry at parade

North Korea on Friday denounced the United States for bringing "huge nuclear strategic assets" to the region as the USS Carl Vinson strike group with a flag-ship nuclear-powered aircraft carrier steamed closer, and said it stood ready to strike back.

The U.S. had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Seoul in the afternoon to start a 10-day trip to Asia.

Pictures on state television showed thousands of soldiers marching in formation alongside tanks, balloons and enormous crowds.

Kim Jong-Un, looking relaxed in a dark suit and laughing with aides, oversaw the festivities on the Day of the Sun at Pyongyang's main Kim Il-Sung Square.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile "blew up nearly immediately", adding the type of missile was being analysed.

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Kim Dong-yub, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the canisters and trucks suggested the North was developing technology to "cold launch" ICBMs, ejecting them from the canisters before they ignite.

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce but not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

China, the North s sole major ally, and Russian Federation have both urged restraint, with Beijing s foreign minister Wang Yi warning Friday that "conflict could break out at any moment".

It has carried out five nuclear tests - two of them past year - and multiple missile launches, one of which saw three rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month.

The North was deemed to have completed preparations for another underground detonation, possibly to coincide with the birthday of late national founder Kim Il-sung on Saturday, while a United States air carrier strike group is en route to South Korea after altering its initial itinerary from Singapore to Australia.

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In his annual New Year's address, Kim said that the country's preparations for an ICBM launch have "reached the final stage". That decision of the U.S. administration caused serious concerns of the North Korean leadership, which does not exclude the possibility of a missile strike by the US. Analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far as the continental United States, although North Korea has yet to flight test them.

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, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region. Analysts say commercial satellite images from recent weeks indicate increased activity around North Korea's nuclear test site.

Kim Jong Un, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appeared.

Wang last month urged North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapon and missile tests in exchange for South Korea and the USA putting their war games on hold, reviving a proposal first raised by Pyongyang.

North Korean school boys sing at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

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South Korea's Foreign Ministry said North Korea's willingness to go to war reveals the "true colors of North Korea's government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations". A US aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force.

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