NORTH Korea displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the first time on Saturday ahead of a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang.
The country warned the United States on Saturday to end its “military hysteria” or face retaliation as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region and the reclusive state marked the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father.
State TV showed images of the Pukkuksong-2 SLBMs on trucks waiting to be paraded in front of leader Kim Jong Un.
The festivities take place amid concerns the reclusive nation will hold its sixth nuclear test in a decade or a rocket launch of significance, such as its first flight test of an ICBM.
North Korea’s state television showed thousands of soldiers marching at Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday morning to kick off the event attended by Kim Jong Un.
Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, stepped out of a black limousine and saluted his honour guard before walking down a red carpet. He then walked up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to address the huge crowd taking part in the parade in capital Pyongyang.
Footage showed submarine-launched ballistic missiles displayed at the event.
“We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and we are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks,” the country’s number two official Choe Ryong-Hae said in a speech at a ceremony before a large military parade started, which was broadcast live by the North’s Korean Central TV.
The parade may also feature some of the country’s most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasises nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defence strategy.
The country under his watch has been aggressively pursuing a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States.
U.S. satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time. North Korea conducted two of such tests last year alone, which analysts say would have taken the country a step forward in gaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.
N. KOREA VOWS ‘THERMONUCLEAR WAR’
North Korea has accused Donald Trump of “troublemaking” with “provocative” tweets and warned “thermonuclear war may break out any moment”.
The Sun reports that Pyongyang’s Vice Minister Han Song Ryol warned Mr Trump against provoking North Korea militarily and that “we will go to war if they choose.”
It came as Press TV reported that Japan is finalising plans to evacuate 60,000 of its citizens from South Korea if war does break out.
China’s national airline, Air China, cancelled some flights to the North Korean capital, but denied it had stopped flights completely.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV had reported that all flights run by the airline between the two cities were to be suspended indefinitely.
“Air China did not stop operation of the Beijing to Pyongyang route, but temporarily cancelled some flights based on the situation of ticket sales,” a person in Air China’s communications team said on Friday.
Russia has also called for restraint from all countries.
Mr Trump has deployed an aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula and claims he is ready to deal with the Korean “problem”.
Mr Han Song said: “Whatever comes from the US, we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.
“If the US comes with reckless military manoeuvres, then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike.
“We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a US pre-emptive strike.”
The country’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“It is not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes problems,” he said. “I say this because Trump tweeted that the DPRK, North Korea, is looking for trouble and it’s none other than the US that is posing threats toward the DPRK with the largest scale ever military exercises (with South Korea) and the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson which was bound for Australia is now coming back to the Korean Peninsula.
“Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words. We will go to war if they choose.” he said. “As long as the nuclear threats and blackmail go on with the military exercises we will carry forward with our national defence build-up, the core of which is the nuclear arms build-up.
“As for the nuclear test, that is something that our headquarters decides. At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place,” he said. “Now we are comparing Trump’s policy toward the DPRK with the former administration’s, and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive.”
“Whatever comes from US politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them.”
Yesterday it was reported Mr Trump is prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea should it dare test any more nuclear weapons.
Senior US intelligence sources claimed Kim Jong-un is in the final stages of preparing for his sixth nuclear test — with Mr Trump warning that he will not hesitate to respond if it reaches for the trigger.
US government sources believe North Korea has placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated as early as this weekend.
But NBC reports should officials became convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuke test the US will strike.
According to reports, two US Navy destroyers — capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region — are now just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.
American B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers are also positioned in Guam to pound targets.
And earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was being diverted to the area.
By Corey Charlton