North Korean leader appears in parade

The North's warning, carried by its KCNA news agency, came as leader Kim Jong Un arrived at Pyongyang's main Kim Il Sung square, named after his grandfather, for a military parade marking the "Day of the Sun", the birth anniversary of the state's founding father. He then walked up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to address the thousands of soldiers and a massive crowd taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square.

"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", Choe Ryong-Hae said in a speech at a ceremony before a large military parade started.

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

North Korea has repeatedly accused President Trump of provoking armed conflict and has issued multiple threats of retaliation.

Choe, who is believed to be the second-most powerful official in North Korea, further stated that the new U.S. government under Donald Trump was "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

North Korea conducted two such tests past 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. What matters is that North Korea is now developing ICBM's.

Pyongyang residents have been seen practicing.

"Our toughest counteraction against the USA and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive", the military statement said, according to the North's state-sponsored KCNA news agency.

USA officials said any strike would require South Korea's permission.

"Though analysts questioned what was inside the missile shells, they said the appearance of a submarine-launched ballistic missile shows North Korea is progressing with its plan to launch missiles from anywhere in the sea".

Five years ago, the late Kim Il Sung's centenary was marked by a failed attempt to launch a North Korean space satellite, and last year Pyongyang tested a newly developed intermediate range missile - also a failure.

According to reports from Fox News, the military exercises in South Korea come just days after the United States launched a similar surprise military drill at the Kadena Air Base in Japan, using HH-60 Pave Hawks, F-15 Eagles, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers.

He criticized the new U.S. administration under President Donald Trump for "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

Air China and North Korea's Air Koryo are the only two airlines serving that route, with the latter operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

While China advocates for diplomatic outreach, the officials said the goal of engagement would have to be North Korea's denuclearisation.

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 move, coupled with the U.S. retaliatory strikes against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, touched off fear in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action on the North.

North Korea's military on Friday directly responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's renewed threats to take "care of" Pyongyang's nuclear threat amid expectations of a new nuclear test that could come at any time.

Mr Trump later announced the deployment of an "armada" to the region in an apparent attempt to deter North Korea's repeated violations of United Nations sanctions.

  • Zachary Reyes