North Korea threatens 'merciless response' to any US provocation

Against the backdrop of rising tensions with the United States, North Korea showed off new missiles in a military parade Saturday marking the birth of the country's founding leader, Kim Il Sung.

A White House foreign policy advisor today said that the U.S. is assessing military options in response to North Korea's weapons programs, saying another provocative test was a question of "when" rather than "if".

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. There had been concern North Korea might decide to mark the occasion with a nuclear or missile test, but it never materialized.

North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles at an anniversary parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, in another characteristic show of strength.

North Korea is working to develop a nuclear missile that can strike the United States. That threat, however, has been made numerous times in the past.

Trump's tweets this week, and leaks suggesting that a preemptive strike is under consideration, create the expectation that the USA must respond immediately and dramatically to the next North Korean nuclear test or missile launch or else lose credibility.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol also warned the USA against provoking North Korea militarily, saying, "We will go to war if they choose".

North Korea has carried out a total of five nuclear tests so far, and according to an expert satellite imagery analysis Pyongyang may be preparing for a sixth test soon.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrates his grandfather's birthday every year with a great fanfare to boost his own legitimacy as the successor to the communist dynasty.

A White House foreign policy advisor said Friday that the assessing military options in response to the North's weapons programs, saying another provocative test was a question of "when" rather than "if". That means the much-anticipated April 15 North Korean holiday has ended without any event that would trigger a possible USA attack, and therefore, possible World War III.

China, North Korea's only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.

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.

The 22,000-pound bomb is the biggest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S.

The dictator has accused President Donald Trump of provoking his nation towards armed conflict with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.

Speaking about North Korea and possible Chinese intervention earlier this week, United States president Donald Trump said: "If China decides to help, that would be great".

  • Leroy Wright