Escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea: What's going on?

Apr 17, 2017, 04:39
Escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea: What's going on?

However, US officials said on Friday that Trump's policy will emphasise increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un's leadership.

State television showed what appeared to be several KN-08 missiles rolled out on trucks at the parade.

North Korea's goal is to build a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of striking the United States.

(KRT via AP). In this image made from video broadcast by North Korean broadcaster KRT, soldiers take part in a parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, Saturday, April 15, 2017. An official from South Korea's Defense Ministry couldn't immediately confirm whether any of the rockets represented a new type of ICBM.

The parade also featured the North's submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the first time.

"Military analysts paid close attention to two new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles enclosed in canister launchers mounted on the backs of trucks - none of which had been displayed before". 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.

Military planes flew in formation, creating the number "105" above Kim Il Sung Square.

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And on the same day, a top North Korean official offered a warning to the US, accusing president Trump of "creating a war situation".

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Other senior officials joining Kim at the parade podium included Kim Won Hong, who the South Korean government had said earlier this year was sacked from his job as state security minister, presumably over corruption. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appeared.

"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", the military statement said, according to the North's state-sponsored KCNA news agency. US satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

The parade comes amid rising tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, after a week-long series of spats directed toward the USA, and a looming possibility of the nation's sixth nuclear test.

Another missile launch or nuclear test "can't be ruled out", he said, but the recent U.S. cruise missile strike on Syria and Washington's tough stance "may give Pyongyang some pause".

The USS Carl Vinson has been despatched to Korean waters as a show of strength against Kim Jong-un.

Saturday's parade was staged amid soaring tensions with the United States, which has not ruled out military action to prevent North Korea from progressing in its nuclear weapons programs.

South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea, as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

The military parade came a day after China warned that diplomacy was needed to defuse rising tensions that could quickly escalate into a full-blown crisis.