Monday, 11 December, 2017

North Korea flaunts long-range missiles in massive parade

Warren Dawson | 16 April, 2017, 03:16

Tension on the Korean peninsula has increased since US President Donald Trump threatened to act against North Korea's continued missile tests and nuclear ambitions.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and Pyongyang says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against a possible United States invasion.

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off Korea after heading for Australia, and USA satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

Fears over the North's rogue weapons programme have soared in recent days, with a United States naval strike force deployed near the Korean peninsula, while President Donald Trump has warned the threat "will be taken care of" and Pyongyang has vowed a "merciless" response to any provocation.

What does this all mean for a region that is already on edge? In recent years, it has marked the date with rocket and missile tests. Choe is considered by outside analysts to be the country's most powerful official after the leader Kim Jong Un.

A U.S. Navy strike group including the USS Carl Vinson aircraft was sent to the region ahead of the parade to monitor activity. Han said if the USA shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own. "He's making a big mistake".

Newspapers this morning expressed fears of nuclear tests as Pyongyang warned it was prepared to take "the toughest action" against USA "military hysteria".

The scope of the new missile surprised some weapons experts on Saturday, including one who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, referring to it as a "frankenmissile", consisting of elements of two other intercontinental ballistic missiles, the KN-08 and KN-14. It was the first time North Korea had shown the missiles - which have a range of more than 1,000km - at a military parade.

The clarification came after NBC News tweeted on Thursday evening, "U.S. may launch preemptive strike if North Korea reaches for nuclear trigger", along with an exclusive story.

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.

Clippers clinch No. 4 playoff seed with 115-95 rout of Kings
Utah hosted the second game, which was played on February 13; in another low scoring match the Clippers again prevailed 88-82. Since Chris Paul arrived in L.A., only two teams have won more regular season games than the Clippers.

But analysts also warned that North Korean might conduct another nuclear test in the future. "He is doing the wrong thing", he added of Kim.

Following the huge bomb dropped by the USA in Afghanistan, China's Global Times - the Communist Party's official newspaper - said North Korea must have felt the shockwaves.

Pictures on North Korean state television showed thousands of soldiers marching in formation alongside tanks, balloons and enormous crowds.

Han said North Korea changed its military strategy two years ago, when the reports of "decapitation strike" training began to really get attention, to stress pre-emptive actions.

"We have the potential for a nuclear war that would take millions of lives".

North Korean culture is that its leaders "are supposed to reign by power", he said.

The North is aiming its message at China as well as the USA, analysts say.

They could also reduce the effectiveness of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) defence system, which Washington and Seoul are deploying to the South, to the fury of Beijing.

"It will be the largest of miscalculations if the United States treats us like Iraq and Libya, which are living out miserable fates as victims of aggression, and Syria, which didn't respond immediately even after it was attacked", said a Friday statement by the general staff of the North Korean army, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

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