North Korea rolls out missiles during massive parade, threatens pre-emptive strike

Goose-stepping soldiers and marching bands filled the square, next to the Taedonggang River that flows through Pyongyang, in the hazy spring sunshine as tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and other weapons waited to parade.

A replica of the missile North Korea is testing.


North Korea recently test-fired four ballistic missiles and claims it's close to perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear warhead capable of reaching the US mainland.

Pyongyang has showcased its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) for the first time during a massive military parade, with a senior North Korean official vowing due response to any attack against the East Asian nation.

This image captured from footage on North Korea's state TV broadcaster on April 15, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presiding over a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung. During his New Year's address, Kim said the country's preparations for an ICBM launch had "reached the final stage".

"It is still early days for these missile designs".

Such rhetoric from North Korea is fairly common, but statements emanating from the military command are taken more seriously by intelligence and defense analysts than those that come from government ministries or frequent commentaries in the state media.

Military trucks carry soldiers through central Pyongyang before sunset as the capital preparers for a parade marking today's 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding father and grandfather of the current ruler.

"All the brigandish provocative moves of the USA in the political, economic and military fields pursuant to its hostile policy toward the DPRK will thoroughly be foiled through the toughest counteraction of the army and people of the DPRK", the KCNA state news agency said, citing a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army.

DPRK stands for the official name of North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Our toughest counteraction against the U.S. and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive".

China quickly responded to the new jousting in the nuclear hotspot, saying there will be no victor in a war between the US and North Korea.

Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday for a long-planned 10-day tour of Asia.

Other than a new type of ICBM, also on display were prototypes of submarine-launched missiles and IRBMs at the parade, Seoul's military said. A carrier strike group led by USS Carl Vinson made its way toward North Korea, in addition to a WC-135 "nuke-sniffer" being deployed to neighboring Japan.

None of the North's five previous nuclear tests has taken place in the month of April.

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.

Kim Dong-yub, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the canisters and trucks suggested that the North was developing technology to "cold launch" ICBMs, ejecting them from the canisters before they ignite. Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching US forces to the region.

"We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war", North Korean military official Choe Ryong-Hae said, adding: "We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks".

China, North Korea's sole major ally and neighbour, which nevertheless opposes its weapons programme, has called for talks to defuse the crisis.

But the North Koreans aren't backing down either.

China's national airline, Air China, weeks ago cancelled some flights to Pyongyang due to poor demand but it has not suspended all flights there, it said on Friday, denying a report by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that all flights run by the airline between the two cities were to be suspended.

  • Joanne Flowers