Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

North Korea Rolls Out Missiles During Founder's Birthday Celebrations

North Korea Rolls Out Missiles During Founder's Birthday Celebrations

South Korea says North Korea fires unidentified missile but test fails Video Watch: Kim Jong Un presides over enormous military parade Sideswipe: April 3: Too much to ask? .

A U.S. military official, who requested anonymity to discuss planning, said the United States doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.

The United States was reportedly ready to strike North Korea if US officials became convinced the country would carry out its test, and the Trump administration said its "strategic patience" with the country has run out.

Earlier, as the USS aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its strike group sailed towards the peninsula, North Korea's official KCNA news agency, citing a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, warned of a "merciless" retaliation against any US provocation.

The isolated dictatorship's state-run TV showed what appeared to be several KN-08 and KN-14 missiles rolled out on trucks at the parade.

But the USA will respond to North Korea's threats accordingly and won't engage Pyongyang until it "chooses a more peaceful way forward".

Trump's decision to order a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield this month, in response to what he said was Syria's use of chemical weapons, raised questions about his plans for reclusive North Korea.

Trump has been leaning on China to put pressure on North Korea, but has also threatened to take on the country alone if necessary.

Speculation is brewing that the North is preparing a sixth nuclear test, with satellite images showing its main nuclear site "primed and ready", according to specialist USA website 38North.

Meanwhile, North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol accused Trump of fanning tensions between the two countries with his "aggressive" tweets, and he said Trump was "becoming more vicious and more aggressive" than previous presidents.

North Korea has a history of marking significant dates with shows of military capability, and it was its ICBMs that were most notable on the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung.

Weapons analysts have suggested intercontinental ballistic missiles may have been among the military hardware presented during the parade in the capital of Pyongyang.

South Korea's military also detected the failed launch. Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them.

According to the statements, "Japan does not tolerate repeated provocations like this by North Korea", and protested to the North over the action. Kim has warned the U.S. of launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike, if the United States nuclear forces mobilise against it.

Kim Jong-un did not speak at the parade but waved from a balcony.

"The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed", South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. North Korean then fired the missile at a lofted angle for testing purposes. During his New Year's address, Kim said the country's preparations for an ICBM launch had "reached the final stage".

The parade also featured the "Pukguksong-2", a land-based variant of the submarine-launched missile.

Pyongyang has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them past year, and analysis of satellite imagery suggests it could be preparing for a sixth.

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