N.K. stages massive military parade on founder's birthday
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 23:43
Pyongyang conducted two unauthorized nuclear test explosions last year and almost two dozen rocket launches in a years-long push to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
USA retaliatory strikes earlier this month against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, coupled with Trump's dispatching of what he called an "armada" of ships to the region, touched off fears in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action against the North.
During the pomp and circumstance at Kim II Sung square, citizens showed their revolutionary fervor with choreographed performances while vehicles displaying North Korea's military arsenal rolled by.
But as the most likely target for retaliatory strikes by the North, South Korea are urging dialogue in the case of any North missile/weapons test. Experts say they believe the weapons were land and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
During an interview with the Associated Press on April 14, North Korean Vice Minister Han Song-ryol said that the North "will go to war" if the U.S. makes that choice.
He then stepped up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to acknowledge the thousands of soldiers and civilians taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, the capital.
Responding, Trump stated that North Korea is "looking for trouble" and that he would "solve the problem".
Either way, the Pentagon confirmed they are preparing "military options" against North Korea, and haven't totally ruled out the possibility of a preemptive USA attack, though officials did deny that a decision to conduct such an attack has already been made.
In an interview with the Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol warned Washington against military provocations, blaming Trump for creating a "vicious cycle" of tensions, such as through "aggressive" tweets.
But North Korea's provocative actions and actions such as preparing for a nuclear test or a long-range missile launch will only further aggravate the tensions and the conflict.
Wang's comments mirrored a warning from the North Korean foreign ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace that "thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment".
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff did not provide details of the launch, and it was not immediately clear what type of missile was sacked. USA satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.
A short while after the launch, a statement from the U.S. Pacific Command said the missile blew up nearly immediately and that its type was still being assessed. He was the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.
In his annual New Year's address, Kim said North Korea's preparations for an ICBM launch had "reached the final stage".
Other senior officials joining Kim at the podium included Kim Won Hong, who the South Korean government had said earlier this year was sacked from his job as state security minister, presumably over corruption.