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N. Korea flexes military muscle on founder’s day

PYONGYANG/SEOUL

North Korea warned the United States on Saturday to end its “military hysteria” or face retaliation as a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region and the reclusive state  marked the “Day of the Sun”, the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father.

North displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles at a giant military parade, with Kim’s grandson, leader Kim Jong Un, taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.

A US Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about US President Donald Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States.

Kim Jong Un oversaw the festivities on the “Day of the Sun” at Pyongyang’s main Kim Il Sung Square.  Single-engine propeller-powered planes flew in a 105 formation overhead.

“Our toughest counteraction against the US and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” KCNA said

KCNA said the Trump administration’s“serious military hysteria” had reached a “dangerous phase which can no longer be overlooked”.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. US Vice-President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China is North Korea’s lone major ally but has spoken out against its missile and nuclear tests and has supported UN sanctions. China on Friday again called for talks to defuse the crisis.

Weapons analysts said they believed some of the missiles on display were new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

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 missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Reuters