North Korea celebrates 'Day of the Sun' with defiant show of might

North Korea celebrates 'Day of the Sun' with defiant show of might

North Korea displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missile and the land-based version it launched last month as well as two new intercontinental ballistic missile-sized canisters as the military paraded down Kim Il Sung Square, analysts said.

Missiles appeared to be the main theme of a giant military parade, with Kim Il-Sung's grandson, leader Kim Jong-Un, taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.

China is seeking Russia's help to cool surging tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the country's foreign minister has told his Moscow counterpart, after Beijing warned of possible conflict over North Korea.

Saturday's holiday, known as the Day of the Sun, normally includes an enormous military parade and synchronized public performances, sometimes involving tens of thousands of people.

During a speech at the parade, a high-ranking North Korean official blamed the Trump administration for heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, saying North Korea will respond with "all-out war and a nuclear war" if attacked.

North Korea has another big military holiday on April 25, when its army marks its anniversary.

Many outside analysts believe that North Korea has not yet mastered the technology to build warheads small enough to place on long-range missiles, though some civilian experts say it can already build nuclear-tipped shorter range missiles that have South Korea and Japan within its striking range.

The parade is inspected by the leader of the North Korea Kim Jong-un who is also the supreme commander in chief.

"North Korea believes the only way to deter the United States from attacking them and maintaining the power of the Kim regime is by the possession of nuclear weapons", Bermudez said.

State television showed what appeared to be several KN-08 missiles rolled out on trucks at the parade.

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Speaking at an event in Tokyo Thursday, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said "North Korea's nuclear program is showing steady progress". He arrived in South Korea shortly after a failed missile launch by the North that surrounded the birth anniversary of North Korea's late founder. An official from South Korea's Defence Ministry could not immediately confirm whether any of them represented a new type of ICBM.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile "blew up nearly immediately", adding the type of missile was being analysed.

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 United States makes that choice.

North Korea conducted two such tests a year ago alone, which analysts say would have taken the country a step forward in gaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

A carrier task force is now in the area after being diverted from Southeast Asia and President Donald Trump has been quoted numerous times promising action if North Korea misbehaves.

A surprise at the parade was the appearance of Kim Won Hong, who was among the senior government officials joining Kim Jong Un at the podium.

United States vice-president Mike Pence travels to South Korea today on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

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 on the parade 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.

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