Korea Celebrated Its Founder By Showing Off A Bunch Of Missiles

Korea Celebrated Its Founder By Showing Off A Bunch Of Missiles

North Korea's current leader Kim Jong Un - the grandson of founder Kim Il Sung - watched the parade, smiling, applauding and saluting troops as they passed by.

"It really depends on one person and that's Kim Jong Un", he said.

Tensions in the region have surged to fresh heights in recent days with speculation mounting that the North is preparing a sixth nuclear test.

Unlike at some previous parades attended by Kim, there did not appear to be a senior Chinese official in attendance.

The missiles were among one element of a massive, militaristic parade to mark the 1912 birthday of the regime's founder, Kim Il Sung.

There can be no winners in a war between the USA and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, while pledging support for dialogue between the sides.

"It will be the largest of miscalculations if the United States treats us like Iraq and Libya, which are living out miserable fates as victims of aggression, and Syria, which didn't respond immediately even after it was attacked", said a Friday statement by the general staff of the North Korean army, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

Tensions have spiked amid fears in the West that North Korea is preparing for another round of nuclear or missile tests. The United States, South Korea and other countries have vowed to apply more pressure on the North, but so far nothing has worked to stop Pyongyang's nuclear program. The General Staff of the Korean People's Army promised to take the most decisive measures in response to provocative actions by the USA and its allies.

Also Friday, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that Trump's tweets - he recently tweeted, for example, that the North is "looking for trouble" - have inflamed tensions.

Vice Foreign Minister Ryol added that the Trump administration is "more vicious and more aggressive" than President Obama's.

The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

North Korea is not believed to have an intercontinental missile capable to hitting the USA with a nuclear weapon, but the Korean People's Army is more than a million strong with some 600,000 reserves and dwarfs that of South Korea, which is half the size. A senior North Korean official on Friday threatened a pre-emptive strike on the U.S. and a fresh nuclear test. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

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Saturday's holiday, known as the Day of the Sun, normally includes an enormous military parade and synchronized public performances, sometimes involving tens of thousands of people.

Beijing has long opposed dramatic action against the North, fearing the regime's collapse would send a flood of refugees across its borders and leave the United States military on its doorstep.

Pictures on state television showed thousands of soldiers marching in formation alongside tanks, balloons and enormous crowds. That threat, however, has been made numerous times in the past.

The parade went on for more than two hours as thousands of North Korean soldiers marched in lockstep through the city's main square.

A White House foreign policy adviser said on Friday that the USA was assessing military options, and added that another provocative test was a question of "when" rather than "if".

The test was not publicized inside North Korea.

Pyongyang could use the parade as a show of strength in preference to a nuclear test, analysts said.

Also on show for the first time was the North's submarine launch ballistic missiles (SLBM).

The parade also featured the "Pukguksong-2", a land-based variant of the submarine-launched missile.

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.

"This launch can possibly be a test for a new type of missile or an upgrade", Kim said. Analysts say commercial satellite images from recent weeks indicate increased activity around North Korea's nuclear test site. There weren't any nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches to mark the day.

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