N Korea displays vast military parade, warns USA amid nuclear test fears

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Founder Kim Il Sung's birthday is usually commemorated by displays of military fanfare and the nation's ordnance.

Officers and soldiers from the second army corps have been placed under arrest for mocking the North Korean leader, and are under investigation, a source has told Radio Free Asia. The South Korean government believed Kim Won-hong had been sent to a "political re-education" prison camp for sending false reports to Kim Jong-un.

According to UPI, other soldiers have referred to him as a mentally ill patient.

The country's authorities are holding military muscle-flexing on the occasion of the national holiday - the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder and first president of People's Republic of Korea, generalissimo and author of the Juche idea.

The U.S. days earlier dispatched what President Trump called an "armada" of Navy ships in a show of force, including an aircraft carrier, into waters off the communist country.

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The North's warning came as leader Kim Jong Un, looking relaxing relaxed in a dark suit and laughing with aides, oversaw a military parade at Pyongyang's main Kim Il Sung square, named after his grandfather, on his birth anniversary.

Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them.

The celebration comes at a somewhat inopportune time as Donald Trump's administration has been provoking North Korea for a few weeks now, worrying everybody that a nuclear war is about to break out.

The US attack on a Syrian airfield has raised questions over its plans for North Korea. Rumors continued to swirl in the USA on April. 14 about a preemptive strike on the North.

It has carried out five nuclear tests -- two of them previous year -- and multiple missile launches, one of which saw several rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month. Also on display was a new generation of an intermediate-range missile, called the Pukguksong-2, as well as a new version of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

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"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.

North Korea has made no secret of its desire to boost its military power, while a USA naval strike group is approaching close to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a show of force, following high-profile US military attacks this month on Syria and the Islamic State in a remote part of Afghanistan.

"The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability", Benham said.

On Friday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that "conflict could break out at any moment", adding that if war occurred there could be no victor.

It suggests Pyongyang has been working towards a "new concept" of ICBM, said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the US-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.

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North Korea's vice foreign minister said the country's rumored next nuclear test would take place any time the leadership decides.

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