North Korea reportedly displayed a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during a military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday (15 April), held to mark the "Day of the Sun" – the country's founder's day.
The celebrations of the 105th birthday of Kim Il-sung, the founding father of the reclusive state and the grandfather of incumbent North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was also marked by warnings to the US to end its "military hysteria" against the rogue state.
Citing a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, North Korean news agency KCNA said that the US administration's "serious military hysteria" has reached a "dangerous phase that can no longer be overlooked".
"Under the prevailing grave situation, the United States has to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution of the problem," the statement warned.
It added: "All the brigandish provocative moves of the US in the political, economic and military fields pursuant to its hostile policy toward the DPRK will thoroughly be foiled through the toughest counteraction of the army and people of the DPRK.
"Our toughest counteraction against the US and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive."
Meanwhile, hundreds of military vehicles and tens of thousands of soldiers gathered at Kim Il-sung Square on Saturday morning in Pyongyang as a band played rousing military music in support of the troops. The event began with the soldiers taking oaths of loyalty to the country's leader, followed by a display of the country's military.
Kim, in his trademark black suit, attended the ceremony along with other senior military and party officials, The Guardian reported.
As the highlight of the event, the military parade showed off a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which Pyongyang calls the Pukguksong-2 or KN-15 missile, according to Yonhap news agency.
This was also the first occasion when the secretive nation publicly displayed its new missile, which still in the development stage. The move is seen as an apparent show of force against the US that has dispatched its carrier strike group USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula following the North's latest missile test in April.
Both Washington and Pyongyang blame each other for military provocation, raising fears of a nuclear war in the region. While the North Korean regime continues to pursue nuclear goals, frequently conducting banned missile tests, the US has been reacting to every such event by either issuing harsh warnings, imposing economic sanctions on Pyongyang or flying bombers over the Korean peninsula.
President Trump's recent decision to send the USS Carl Vinson was the latest reason to have irked the Kim regime.
Meanwhile, sounding alarms over the escalating tensions and volatile situation in the Korean peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday (14 April) that a war could break out any moment. He called on both the parties to scale down their rhetoric and action to bring stability to the region.
"If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner," Wang said in a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Beijing.
Earlier, there were speculations that the Pyongyang regime could conduct a nuclear or missile test on the founder's day to further provoke the US and its allies. However, a North Korean official clarified on Friday that the next test would be conducted whenever the leadership decides.
You may be interested in:
- US drops 'mother of all bombs': Here's a look at the world's biggest non-nuclear munitions
- China warns war could break out any moment in the Korean peninsula
- Dozens killed after US dropped 'mother of all bombs' in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province
- North Korea shows off new ICBM during founder's day parade, warns US against 'military hysteria'