Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

North Korea Celebrates Birthday of Country's Founder With a Massive Military Parade

More than anything else, that calculation changed when the North Koreans began their final lap toward nuclear-tipped ICBMs, and the USA responded by deploying the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

North Korea's military forces were massed in Pyongyang on April 15 for a show of strength by leader Kim Jong-Un as tensions mount over his nuclear ambitions.

An influential Washington think tank estimated Friday that North Korea could already have up to 30 bombs.

"It suggests a commitment to this program", said Pollack. The margins represent uncertainty as to whether North Korea has one or two uranium enrichment facilities.

"The bottom line is that North Korea has an improving nuclear weapons arsenal", said David Albright, the institute's president.

North Korea in February claimed that it successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface "medium long-range ballistic missile" known as the Pukkuksong-2, which is potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters no one would win in a military conflict between the US and North Korea. Amid growing tensions with the US President Donald Trump who promised to "take care" of North Korea, the communist officials told foreign journalists on Tuesday that a "big and important event" is expected to take place.

USA ally South Korea warned against any North Korean "provocation", such as a nuclear or missile test. Although China advocates for diplomatic outreach, the focus for now is on pressure.

"North Korea's military will as ever courageously counter those who encroach upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and will always mercilessly foil all the provocative options of the United States with Korean-style toughest counteraction". It can not lead to an arms control agreement or reduction of the North's atomic arsenal that would imply American acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear power.

Even if there are no open hostilities in the near future, North Korea is becoming an expensive indulgence for Beijing, so advanced rocket components pinched from European suppliers by Chinese distributors - in defiance of legal agreements never to sell them to North Korea - might finally become as scarce as they were supposed to be.

China, North Korea's sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons programme, on Friday again called for talks to defuse the crisis.

"There is certain to be powerful punitive measure that will be hard for the North Korean regime to endure", the South's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Trump has also been pressing China to do more to rein in North Korea. Han said if the USA shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own.

Trump, who last week acted unilaterally in ordering a cruise missile strike on Syria, has been using America's military might to send a message to Kim. An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force. Trump has repeatedly issued ambiguous threats that if Beijing isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the United States might take the matter into its own hands. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

North Korea warned the United States on Saturday to end its "military hysteria" or face retaliation as a USA aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region and the reclusive state marked the "Day of the Sun", the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father.

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