Martes, 26 Marcha, 2019

N Korea flaunts long-range missiles in massive parade

China warns of war as North Korea vows 'merciless' response to US Foreign journalists in North Korea told to prepare for 'big' event
Eleena Tovar | 24 Abril, 2017, 19:00

A senior North Korean government official says the country is ready to stand up to any threat posed by the United States as he spoke at an enormous parade celebrating the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.

Ranking Workers' Party official Choe Ryong-hae delivered congratulatory remarks, saying that North Korea is ready for war if the US wages a reckless provocation. "The North Koreans are serious about building a nuclear force that can threaten USA forces in South Korea, Japan and the continental United States".

Choe said the North's revolutionary forces will immediately engage in annihilating strikes and respond to a full-scale war with an all-out war, and to nuclear attacks with nuclear strikes.

South Korea and the United States say the sole objective of the THAAD is to guard against North Korean missiles, but China says that its powerful radar could penetrate its territory.

China's Global Times newspaper, which is published by the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper, said North Korea must have felt the shockwave from the 11-ton "mother of all bombs" dropped by USA forces on ISIS-linked fighters in Afghanistan on Thursday.

"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words", Han Song Ryol said.

North Korea on Saturday showed off what it claims to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) during a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang.

Pyongyang has expressed anger over the annual spring military exercises the USA holds with South Korea, which it considers an invasion rehearsal.

But U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Friday that the Trump 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.

Kim, wearing a suit and tie, was greeted Saturday with thunderous - and extensively practiced - applause as he stepped into view on a large podium, clapping to acknowledge the thousands of soldiers and civilians taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square.

Analysts said that the weapons on display raised new questions about North Korea's capacities going forward.

North Korea showed two new kinds of ICBM enclosed in canister launchers mounted on the back of trucks, suggesting Pyongyang was working towards a "new concept" of ICBM, said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the US -based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. An official from South Korea's Defence Ministry couldn't immediately confirm whether any of the rockets represented a new type of ICBM.

Trump has warned the North that the US will not allow it to develop a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could reach the continental United States. The secretive state also showed off a submarine-launched missile that it successfully fired a year ago. These missiles concern South Korea because they're harder to detect before launch than liquid-fuel missiles, which need to be filled with fuel before launch and also require fuel trucks and other vehicles that could be spotted by satellites.

South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted experts as saying that North Korea unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during the parade, one that appeared longer than existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs. Also on display was a powerful midrange missile that outside analysts call a "Musudan", and which can potentially reach USA air bases in Guam, as well as a new solid-fuel midrange missile that can be fired from land mobile launchers, making them harder to detect before launch.

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

"Our toughest counteraction against the USA and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive", a spokesperson for North Korea's military said ahead of the parade, according to the state-run KCNA news agency.

In his annual New Year's address, Kim said that North Korea's preparations for an ICBM launch have "reached the final stage". According to analysts of "38 North", a site that deals with North Korea and is based on several recent satellite photos of the nuclear test site of Poungie-ri is "ready" to start. The North also a year ago launched a long-range rocket that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.

Japan's Nikkei business daily said the government had discussed how to rescue an estimated 57,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea as well as how to cope with a possible flood of North Korean refugees coming to Japan, among whom might be spies.