Thursday, 21 September, 2017

N.Korea displays apparently new missiles as USA carrier group approaches

A replica of the missile North Korea is testing A replica of the missile North Korea is testing
Saul Franklin | 13 May, 2017, 09:29

Military vehicles carry missiles with characters reading "Pukkuksong" during the military parade in North Korean marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung.

North Korea's Army on Friday vowed a "merciless" response to any USA provocation as tensions soar over Pyongyang's nuclear programme and speculation mounts that it is preparing a fresh weapons test.

North Korea also paraded what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Trump has ordered a navy strike group flagshipped by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to head to the region as a show of force as his officials assess tougher economic sanctions as well as military options against the North.

Speaking to the Associated Press in an interview Friday, North Korea's vice foreign minister said that any sign of "reckless" military aggression on the part of the USA could lead Pyongyang to launch a preemptive strike of its own.

North Korean state television showed Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, stepped out of a black limousine and saluted his honor guard before walking down a red carpet.

North Korea showed off its military might during a parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, in celebration of its founder's birthday.

China on Friday urged both United States and North Korea to refrain from mounting pressure on each other so as to not soon reach an "irreversible and unmanageable stage".

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Neither the USA nor North Korea seems interested in deescalation at this point, however, with the Trump Administration keen to continue to ratchet up pressure, openly talking about military intervention and suggesting that they can "solve" the problem of North Korea unilaterally.

A United States attack on a Syrian airfield this month raised questions about President Donald Trump's plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

Unlike at some previous parades attended by Kim, there did not appear to be a senior Chinese official in attendance.

Experts said that was likely a lofted firing, meaning it could have flown much further, putting South Korea and parts of Japan within striking distance. With a broad smile on his face, Kim praised his troops for their precision, saying "the bullets seemed to have their own eyes", KCNA said, without identifying when the operation was held.

"The military hysterics of the administration of the US President (Donald) Trump has reached a risky point, and the DPRK can not but react to this circumstance", the North Korean military leaders said in a statement issued on Friday.

South Korean analysts have said that the North might use the parade to showcase its strategic weapons, such as prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

US officials told The Associated Press that the administration had settled on a policy that will emphasize increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow Kim's regime.

It's also conducted engine tests that analysts say could potentially power a long-range missile.

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