North Korea Displays Apparently New Missiles amid Rising Tensions across the Region

Instead, North Korea held a parade displaying a variety of ballistic missiles it has recently tested among other weapons, according to the Washington Post, as the country marked the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the nation's founder and Kim Jong Un's grandfather.

Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching USA forces to the region.

American intelligence officials have reportedly said the United States is ready to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea if it is sure Pyongyang is about to stage another nuclear weapons test.

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce but not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

"However, North Korea has a habit of showing off new concepts in parades before they ever test or launch them", Hanham said.

This year's joint war games between the US and South Korean militaries are the biggest so far.

Evidence of increased activity in recent weeks at North Korea's nuclear test sites has sparked fears that the country may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear test since 2006.

US Vice President Mike Pence as part of a 10-day trip to Asia arrives in South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tensions over the North's weapons programmes.

The parade comes as tensions have been simmering between North Korea and the USA in recent weeks, raising fears of a potential military confrontation between the two sides. These missiles concern South Korea because they're harder to detect before launch than liquid-fuel missiles, which need to be filled with fuel before launch and also require fuel trucks and other vehicles that could be spotted by satellites.

Weapons analysts said they believe some of the missiles on display were new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, including a solid-fuel missile created to be fired from a submarine, which would make it hard to detect.

North Korea saw the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Moammar Gadhafi in Libya neither of whom had nuclear weapons as proof of the weapons' power. "An extremely grave situation is forming on the Korean Peninsula right now because of the rash military provocations and lunacy of the new Trump administration in the United States", the spokesperson for the General Staff Department of the Korean People's Army said in a statement released late in the afternoon of April 14, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

North Korea on Saturday warned the U.S. not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks".

It has carried out five nuclear tests -- two of them previous year -- and multiple missile launches, one of which saw three rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month.

On display for the first time were what appeared to be the Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which have a range of more than 1,000 km.

The official, who wasn't authorized to be quoted by name and demanded anonymity, lamented Pyongyang's "far too common and far too dangerous" provocations, and said Washington would work with global partners to cut the North's government off "from the rest of the world".

Kim Jong-un reviews the parade featuring new long-range missiles. But if the parade signalled a readiness for war, North Korea has long insisted that its goal is peace and survival with the growing arsenal a way to ensure that the government in Pyongyang is not easily overthrown. USA satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

  • Salvatore Jensen