China seeks Russia's help to 'cool' North Korea situation

Violet Powell
April 16, 2017

The missiles were shown during the grand celebrations marking the 105th birth anniversary of DPRK founder Kim Il Sung, which was watched by DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Un from a high review stand on the west side of the Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang.

Choe said President Donald Trump was guilty of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching USA forces to the region.

"Though analysts questioned what was inside the missile shells, they said the appearance of a submarine-launched ballistic missile shows North Korea is progressing with its plan to launch missiles from anywhere in the sea".

Despite that, military experts believe that North Korea learnt from those setbacks and might even be able to develop a nuclear-tipped, intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States within the coming four years, during Trump's presidency.

A U.S. State Department official said later Friday the U.S. was aligning "all elements of national power" to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. "Very powerful", Trump had told the Fox Business Network. "Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words", Han Song Ryol said.

US retaliatory strikes against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, coupled with Trump dispatching what he called an "armada" of ships to the region in a show of force, touched off fears in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action against the North.

United States army soldiers ride an M1A2 tank during a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Saturday.

The US has warned that a policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

North Korea showed off a series of new and technologically advanced missiles and launchers during a military parade on Saturday. 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.

The parade, an elaborate display of the state's enormous 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.

For outside military analysts, though, the highlight is the weaponry that the North puts on display.

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One set of canisters appeared to be the right size for the KN-08, a three-stage missile that North Korea calls the Hwasong-13. An official from South Korea's Defence Ministry could not immediately confirm whether any of the rockets paraded represented a new type of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the Associated Press reported.

"However, North Korea has a habit of showing off new concepts in parades before they ever test or launch them", she said.

Also on display, analysts said, were a midrange missile powerful enough to reach US air bases in Guam, and a new solid-fuel midrange missile that could be fired from land mobile launchers, which would also make it hard to detect before it's launched.

North Korea has been working on solid fuel - which, unlike liquid fuel, can be preloaded into missiles - as a way to fire missiles quickly to avoid prior detection by satellites.

Other weaponry exhibit during the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery guns, as well as a solid-fuel missile created to be fired from submarines.

News that the USA had dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, a 10,000-kilogram explosive that headline writers called "the mother of all bombs", was taken as a message directed at Kim Jong Un.

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce but not a treaty, has on occasion conducted a missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

A North Korea expert at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Kim Dong-yub, told AP that the canisters and trucks seen during the parade suggested that North Korea was developing technology to "cold launch" ICBMs, which would eject missiles from the canisters before igniting.

An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. North Korea also launched a long-range rocket a year ago that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.

The reappearance of Kim Won-hong, the state security minister whom South Korean officials believed was purged earlier this year, also caught the attention of local authorities.

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