Kim Jong-un invited the world’s media to the deadly parade in Pyongyang, intended as a threat that he would stop at nothing to defend his nuclear dreams but Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned the leader that he must back down in his pursuit of nuclear weapons, or face the wrath of the world.
And with President Trump’s naval taskforce steaming in, Kim abandoned threats to detonate another nuclear blast, which experts feared he had planned to use to “celebrate” the birthday of the regime’s founder, his grandfather Kim Il-Sung.
Kim Jong-un invited the world’s media to the military parade in Pyongyang
North Korea May Be Preparing a Nuclear Test for Kim Il-Sung’s Birthday
Fri, April 14, 2017
North Korea has begun preparing festivities for the 'Day of the Sun,' a holiday celebrating communist leader Kim Il-Sung
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Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang
Last night Mr Johnson backed US action against the regime, saying: “We stand alongside our international partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to UN resolutions designed to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
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The world watched as the tense standoff unfolded, with all eyes on what the Korean despot would do to mark the annual “Day Of The Sun” celebrations.
He smiled as he watched his weaponry roll through the streets, showing off his new ballistic missiles, including one with a range of 4,000 miles.
These were followed by tanks, rocket launchers and goose-stepping soldiers.
Crowds were treated to warnings of “all-out war” with the US as the missiles passed
US Army soldiers prepare for WAR against North Korea
Fri, April 14, 2017
The US military's largest non-nuclear bomb killed dozens of Islamic State militants as it smashed their mountain hideouts, Afghan officials said April 14, ruling out any civilian casualties despite the weapon's destructive capacity. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb dubbed the 'Mother Of All Bombs' hit IS positions in Achin district in eastern Nangarhar province
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Experts studying the military hardware said it included new long range rockets and submarine based weaponry.
“Given the size, one cannister like it contains a new ballistic missile with a range of 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles)”, said Shin In-kyun, of the Korea Defense Network.
But others expressed doubt over whether the new long-range missiles were operationally effective.
“North Korea has a habit of showing off new concepts in parades before they ever test or launch them”, said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the US-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.
Evans Revere of the Brookings Institution in Washington said the display was put on to send “a tough message to the United States in response to the Trump administration’s recent rhetoric and the military steps the United States has taken”.
The parade also saw submarine-launched ballistic missiles, capable of striking Japan, on display for the first time.
Crowds were treated to warnings of “all-out war” with the US as the missiles rolled through Kim Il-Sung square, shaking the ground as they passed.
Kim’s close aide Choe Ryong Hae said: “If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to all-out war with all-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare.”
Boris Johnson warned Kim Jong-un that he must back down in his pursuit of nuclear weapons
Evans Revere said the display was put on to send ‘a tough message to the United States’
North Korea has boasted about having the ability to send long-range nuclear missiles as far as California, though it is not believed to have achieved this aim.
Cristina Varriale, an expert in nuclear proliferation at RUSI, said: “The development of an ICBM would be particularly concerning for South Korea and Japan, because once the US know they can be targeted at home that may change their calculus as to whether they are prepared to help defend those countries if they are attacked by North Korea.”
It was feared the dictator had planned to mark the occasion with another nuclear test, after satellite images showed increased activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.
Enough rock has been excavated there, analysts say, to allow the site to contain a blast up to 15 times bigger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
President Trump had sent a naval taskforce, headed by the nuclear-powered supercarrier Carl Vinson, in readiness. But by the end of the parade, no test was detected.
South Korea remained calm in the face of growing tension and supported President Trump’s decision to raise the stakes.
“I strongly support active efforts by the President Donald Trump to solve this problem,” said politician Lee Cheol Woo, chairman of South Korea’s National Assembly Intelligence Committee.
“North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is the most serious threat against international community as well as the Korean Peninsula.
North Korean soldiers march and shout slogans during a military parade
Forbidden photographs depict the true North Korean army
Wed, April 12, 2017
While tourists are able to visit North Korea as part of a controlled tour group, they are asked by their handlers to never take photographs of soldiers. These pictures taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue show the reality of military service in the secretive state
ERIC LAFFORGUE/EXCLUSIVEPIX MEDI
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Soldiers enjoy a ride at the funfair in Pyongyang
“And Kim Jong-un will not give up his nuclear weapons on his own. “The only solution is to remove him from power.”
He said South Koreans were not worried about a military confrontation.
“Even if the United States uses physical measures, the Republic of Korea should be a place of safety,” he added.
“I think the United States which has overwhelming military power is able to do that.” Seoul journalist Suk Han Kwon added: “I’d say more than half of Seoul’s residents have had enough.
“They feel a growing impatience for action to change the stalemate position we’ve been facing with North Korea for so long, and they applaud Donald Trump’s actions.”
President Trump had hoped that Beijing would play a role in reining in Pyongyang.
Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has already stopped North Korean coal imports, and last night threatened to cut off its oil imports warning of a response of “unprecedented ferocity” should North Korea carry out another nuclear test.
But China will do no more, said Robert Manning, of the Atlantic Council think tank.
President Trump had hoped that Beijing would play a role in reining in Pyongyang
“China are so concerned about a unified Korea being allied with the US that they want to protect the status quo,” he said.
“The one redeeming feature of North Korea is that Kim Jong-un’s highest goal is the regime’s survival,” added Mr Manning, formerly a senior strategist at the National Counterproliferation Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“They’re not suicidal, they’re not al Qaeda. We are underestimating the effect of this deterrence.”
Mr Manning said that while military action could achieve a short term effect, the long term answer rested in depriving Kim Jong-un of the imported luxury cars and goods he so valued. One idea is to hit him where it hurts, by focusing on his access to luxury goods and fast cars,” he said.
“The US Treasury Department has become very good at tracking down bank accounts.”
The American vice president Mike Pence will be in Seoul today at the start of a 10-day tour of Asia.