North Korea unveiled a train of intercontinental ballistics Saturday in its capital of Pyongyang as part of an annual parade celebrating the birthday of founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of supreme leader Kim Jong-un.
While the parade carried on, a top official did not hesitate to bring up the U.S. and the possibility of nuclear war.
Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of “creating a war situation” on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching U.S. forces to the region.
“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” said Choe, widely seen by analysts as North Korea’s No. 2 official. “If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to full out war with full out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare.”
Choe vowed that North Korea will “beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice.”
The parade, the annual highlight of North Korea’s most important holiday, came amid growing international worries that North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, such as its first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching U.S. shores.
Large rockets covered by canisters in two different types of transporter erector launcher trucks, or TELs, were seen paraded in the streets. An official from South Korea’s Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately confirm whether any of the rockets represented a new type of ICBM.
North Korea said Friday that the U.S. had better not treat it like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi, that is, like Iraq and Libya.
“It will be the largest of miscalculations if the United States treats us like Iraq and Libya, which are living out miserable fates as victims of aggression, and Syria, which didn’t respond immediately even after it was attacked,” said a Friday statement by the general staff of the North Korean army, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
Also Friday, North Korea’s vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that Trump’s tweets — he recently tweeted, for example, that the North is “looking for trouble” — have inflamed tensions.
“Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words,” Han Song Ryol said.
Kim Jong-un did not speak at the parade but waved from a balcony.
Recently North Korea condemned the U.S. strike on a Syrian airfield as “an unforgivable act of aggression” and justified its nuclear weapons developments as “the right choice a million times over” because of it.
The response, Reuters reported, came from the foreign ministry through the state-run news agency KCNA.
“The U.S. missile attack against Syria is a clear and unforgivable act of aggression against a sovereign state, and we strongly condemn this,” an unnamed spokesman was quoted by the agency. “The reality of today proves our decision to strengthen our military power to stand against force with force was the right choice a million times over.”
The response came with the grand bluster normally included in statements by North Korea, bluster like “nuclear justice.”
You may also recall the recent response to the U.S. and South Korea conducting drills with the USS Carl Vinson, a Navy supercarrier with nuclear capability, being involved.
“If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater,” North Korea said through its state-run news source. “On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.