North Korea warns Trump: 'We're ready to launch nuclear strike'

Posted April 18, 2017

The isolated dictatorship celebrated the 105th birthday of its late founder with a massive military parade displaying what appeared to be previously-unseen KN-08 and KN-14 missiles.

North Korean soldiers march and shout slogans during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung.

"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".

In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch".

A North Korean missile "blew up nearly immediately" on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was due in South Korea for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms programme.

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack", he said.

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Trump added to the growing war of words with a tweet on Tuesday that said the North is "looking for trouble". New satellite images suggest North Korea might soon conduct another underground detonation.

Trump administration officials describe the situation as more unsafe than in the past, because of the progress North Korea has made in its nuclear weapon and missile programs and because of the hostility on both sides.

Kim Dong-yub, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the canisters and trucks suggested that the North was developing technology to "cold launch" ICBMs, ejecting them from the canisters before they ignite.

Japan's Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's office released nearly identical statements late Sunday, citing the USA announcement about North Korea's failed ballistic missile launch from its east coast.

The United States was reportedly ready to strike North Korea if US officials became convinced the country would carry out its test, and the Trump administration said its "strategic patience" with the country has run out.

US President Donald Trump and Mike Pence have been briefed on the situation.

"We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves", read a statement quoted by Merrit. Pence, on his first official visit to Asia as vice president, will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia before stopping in Hawaii on the return leg of his 10-day trip.

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The parade, an elaborate display of the state's vast power, involves tens of thousands of participants, from goose-stepping soldiers to crowds of civilians who have spent weeks perfecting their ability to wave plastic flowers in unison.

"The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo".

The failure, which is likely to be seen as something of an embarrassment for the regime, came amid soaring tensions in the region over the North's nuclear weapons ambitions.

Displaying more than one of the missiles indicates North Korea is progressing with its plan to base a missile on a submarine, which are hard to detect, said Joshua Pollack, editor of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Review.

The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit between the United States and China to discuss the North's arms programme.

China is North Korea's lone major ally but has spoken out against its missile and nuclear tests and has supported United Nations sanctions.

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"This launch can possibly be a test for a new type of missile or an upgrade".