Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Korea starts celebrating birthday of country's founder

Korea starts celebrating birthday of country's founder

North Korea staged a massive military parade on Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of late state founder Kim Il-sung amid growing tensions on the divided peninsula over its nuclear and missile program.

Korean People's Army soldiers march through Kim Il Sung square.

An unidentified Korean People's Army rocket is displayed during the military parade.

But it is also meant to send an unmistakable message to Washington about the isolated, nuclear-armed North's military might.

Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim, addressed the packed square and reiterated the warning to the US. The communist country has been regularly conducting nuclear and missile tests defying United Nations' resolutions and sanctions. Satellite images show activity at the North's main nuclear test site ahead of the parade, analysts say.

The US president has recently demonstrated his willingness to resort to military methods, according to BBC.

After dispatching the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and an accompanying battle group to the Korean peninsula Trump told the Fox Business Network: "We are sending an armada".

Beijing has long opposed dramatic action against the North, fearing the regime's collapse would send a flood of refugees across its borders and leave the U.S. military on its doorstep. Third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un watched in delight from a podium. "He's making a big mistake".

"One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting his French colleague Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday.

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Pyongyang has expressed anger over the annual spring military exercises the US holds with South Korea, which it considers an invasion rehearsal.

Pyongyang has undertaken five nuclear tests since 2006.

Washington said North Korea should see the strikes as a sign of USA resolve, but US officials have played down the prospect of any military strike against North Korea, which would likely provoke massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among US forces in both countries.

The isolated country is now preparing a military parade in honor of 105th birthday of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung on Saturday.

USA aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, surrounded by a fleet of United States warships, was sent toward the Korean Peninsula in advance of this weekend's festivities in Pyongyang.

Concern has grown since the US Navy fired Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack.

However, history has shown that use of force is not a solution, Wang added.

"North Korea is a problem", President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday.

The move, coupled with the US retaliatory strikes against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, touched off fear in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action on the North.

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