Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

NK stages massive military parade on founder's birthday

North Korean school boys sing at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Wang Yi's comments mark the latest attempt to cool tensions by North Korea's most important ally and key provider of food and fuel aid.

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E). North Korean schoolgirls perform at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The dollar fell on Friday against a basket of currencies, on track for a losing week as tension over North Korea underpinned the perceived safe-haven Japanese yen.

Robert Gallucci, a professor at Georgetown University who was with the Clinton administration in 1994 when it considered striking North Korea, said the US would have to spend months preparing its allies to defend themselves and their civilian populations before taking what in military parlance is called "kinetic action".

On Thursday, Trump told reporters at the White House that the North Korean "problem" "will be taken care of". He did not elaborate.

North Korea displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the first time on Saturday ahead of a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang.

Last month, Xinhua noted, the foreign minister suggested as a first step that North Korea could suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.

"Ryomyong Street is an accomplishment that the North wants to promote on the economic front", said an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

Soldiers and marching bands filled the square, next to the Taedonggang River that flows through Pyongyang, followed by tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and other weapons. Also on display was a powerful midrange missile that outside analysts call a "Musudan", and which can potentially reach US 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.

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.

"Nothing will be more foolish if the United States thinks it can deal with us the way it treated Iraq and Libya, miserable victims of its aggression, and Syria, which did not respond immediately even after it was attacked", a spokesman of the General Staff of the North's People's Army said in a statement on its official Korean Central News Agency.

This year's celebrations come at a tense time on the Korean Peninsula, days after a United States strike group was deployed to the region and amid expectations of another missile or nuclear test by Pyongyang.

The parade at Kim Il-sung Square, named after the founder, in the heart of Pyongyang took place as the United States has not ruled out military options to prevent North Korea from advancing its weapons programme.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference yesterday that the government was always collecting and analysing information about North Korea but refrained from giving details.

But North Korea could prove different if it calls Trump's bluff and conducts another nuclear test, the paper said.

North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

Unlike at some previous parades attended by Kim, there did not appear to be a senior Chinese official in attendance.

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

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy. In little more than five years in office, he has executed his uncle, likely ordered the assassination of his half brother and redoubled efforts to develop a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States.

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