North Korea Parades New Prototype Long-Range Missiles amid Nuclear Tensions

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a massive parade on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of the country's late founder, as third-generation leader Kim Jong Un looked on in delight.

That raised questions about US President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted several missiles and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

Aside from improving the technology, North Korean missile and nuclear tests are seen by outside analysts partly as efforts to bolster the domestic image of leader Kim Jong Un and apply political pressure on Seoul and Washington.

Another missile launch or nuclear test "can't be ruled out", he said, but the Syria strike and Washington's implied threats "may give Pyongyang some pause".

The move, coupled with the USA retaliatory strikes against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, has sparked fear in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action on the North.

The Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) were also on parade.

The last missiles in the parade, on giant 16-wheeler vehicles, could have been KN-14s in launch tubes. Outside analysts consider Choe to be North Korea's number two official.

It has carried out five nuclear tests - two of them a year ago - and multiple missile launches, one of which saw several rockets land in waters close to Japan last month. 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.

Malaysian authorities have also accused North Korea of helping carry out the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of Kim Jong Un.

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"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.

President Donald Trump recently tweeted that if China can't crack down on North Korea, the USA will have to step in. During his New Year's address, Kim said the country's preparations for an ICBM launch had "reached the final stage".

The display included submarine-launched ballistic missiles, believed to be the same type of missile North Korea fired from land in February.

The parade may also feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions are stretched to the limit, with US President Donald Trump deploying an aircraft carrier battle group to the region. Under his watch, North Korea has aggressively pursued a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States. The missiles use solid fuel, making them easier to load and harder to detect than liquid fuel rockets.

"Our toughest counteraction against the United States and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive", it added.

But analysts also warned that North Korean might conduct another nuclear test in the future.

Another participant of the parade, O Song-rim, said: "We follow the direction set by our Marshal, under the leadership of our party, and all our people and army will always stick to our own way - that's what we showed the world with today's big event".

The North views the strike as telegraphing what the Trump administration's plans are for its regime.

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