North Korea (DPRK) displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region.
Missiles appeared to be the main theme of a giant military parade, with Kim's grandson, leader Kim Jong Un, taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.
An illegal U.S. Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles, not to mention the dropping of Washington’s largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan a few days later, has raised questions about U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
The ongoing war of words between Pyongyang and Washington has alarmed regional powers, who fear that the tension surrounding weapons tests by the DPRK may trigger the largest crisis East Asia has seen since the Korean War.
The DPRK has warned of a harsh fallout resulting from continued aggressive moves by the United States and Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim Jong Un, addressed the packed square Saturday with a warning to the U.S.
"If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare," he said.
Meanwhile, State news agency KCNA said the Trump administration's "serious military hysteria" had reached a "dangerous phase which can no longer be overlooked".
The United States has warned that a policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.