China on Friday warned its ally North Korea against carrying out a nuclear test, saying such a “dangerous and irresponsible” move could lead to a breakout of conflict at any moment amid soaring tensions with the US. He then stepped up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to address the thousands of soldiers and civilians taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, the capital.
Goose-stepping soldiers and marching bands filled the square, next to the Taedonggang River that flows through Pyongyang, in the hazy spring sunshine as tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and other weapons waited to parade.
North Korea also paraded what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Single-engine propeller-powered planes flew in a 105 formation overhead.
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.
The Washington Post writes of a North Korean booster rocket falling into South Korean waters after a major satellite launch past year, and the South Koreans discovering that many of its key components were purchased from Chinese businesses.
Other senior officials joining Kim at the 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.
Photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) and his half brother Kim Jong-nam are titled “murderer” and “dead person”, respectively. South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea, as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.
Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy. The country under his watch has been aggressively pursuing a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States. USA satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.
The officials are hopeful China and Russian Federation would agree to tighter United Nations sanctions on North Korea if it conducts another nuclear test. The North also past year launched a long-range rocket that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.
“It is beyond dispute that (China and North Korea) will maintain a normal trade relationship while at the same time we observe UN Security Council resolutions”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday during a regular press briefing, calling the two countries “neighbors who enjoy a traditional friendship”. An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force.
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.
Pyongyang’s rogue atomic ambitions have come into sharp focus in recent weeks, with United States President Donald Trump vowing a tough stance against the North and threatening unilateral action if China failed to help curb its neighbour’s nuclear programme.
Ahead of Saturday’s festive parade, Pyongyang urged Washington to stop its “military hysteria” and come to its “senses” – or otherwise face a merciless response in case of any provocations against North Korea.