North Korea showed off a series of new and technologically advanced missiles and launchers during a military parade on Saturday.
As tensions between North Korea and the US rose in recent days, speculation had grown that Kim Jong Un would conduct a nuclear test or other major military test.
North Korea has paraded its range of missiles in a massive military display in central Pyongyang, with ruler Kim Jong-un looking on with delight as his nation flaunted its military hardware amid rising tensions across the region.
Military planes flew in formation, creating the number “105” above Kim Il Sung Square.
His comments were the bluntest this week from China, which has been trying to steer between the Trump administration’s demands for it to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its longstanding reluctance to risk a rupture with the North, its neighbor and longtime partner.
Kim Jong-un reviews the parade featuring new long-range missiles.
Citing Washington’s recent missile strike on Syria, the typically bombastic statement boasted that U.S. military bases in South Korea as well as Seoul’s presidential Blue House “would be pulverized within a few minutes”.
The UK Foreign Office said it was “concerned by reports of a missile test by North Korea” and was “monitoring the situation closely”. “We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks”. “Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words”, Han Song Ryol said.
North Korea did, however, hold a large military parade on the annual Day of the Sun celebration, in what The Washington Post described as “a defiant show of force in front of the world”. US Vice-President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday as part of a long-planned Asian tour. He was the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.
US and South Korean military officials are conducting further analysis of the launch at Sinpo on North Korea’s eastern coastline.
The parade came amid growing worldwide concern that North Korea could be preparing for a sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, possibly its first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching America.
The US attack on a Syrian airfield has raised questions over its plans for North Korea.
Any US strike on North Korea could prompt retaliation against allies or US forces in South Korea or Japan.
Pyongyang has claimed to have miniaturised nuclear warheads for use on missiles, though experts have cast doubt on that given the lack of evidence.