KIM’S THREAT TO ANNIHILATE TRUMP AR­MADA

North Ko­rea tyrant pa­rades his new nu­clear mis­siles and rants: We’ll meet reck­less provo­ca­tion with all-out war

The Mail on Sunday - - Front Page - By Nick Craven, Martin Beck­ford and Mark Ni­col

NORTH KO­REA yes­ter­day un­veiled a deadly new ar­ray of ‘game-chang­ing’ mis­siles and threat­ened to annihilate the US ar­mada of war­ships head­ing to­wards its coast – height­en­ing fears of nu­clear war.

As US mil­i­tary forces massed around the rogue state, Py­ongyang staged a show of strength, parad­ing long-range weaponry that it claims could reach the United States main­land – real­is­ing Washington’s worst fears.

These in­clude nu­clear mis­siles that it is claimed could be launched from a sub­ma­rine with­out be­ing de­tected. They have a range of up to 600 miles.

An­other is a longer range land­based nu­clear mis­sile which could strike tar­gets 7,000 miles away.

North Ko­rea dic­ta­tor Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man raised the ten­sion still fur­ther, vow­ing: ‘If the United States wages reck­less provo­ca­tion against us, our rev­o­lu­tion­ary power will in­stantly counter

with an an­ni­hi­lat­ing strike.’ Vice-Mar­shal Choe Ry­ong Hae, who ac­cused Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of ‘cre­at­ing a war sit­u­a­tion’ by send­ing the US Navy Strike Group, led by air­craft car­rier USS Carl Vin­son, added: ‘And we will re­spond to all-out war with all-out war, and to nu­clear war with our style of nu­clear strike war­fare.’

Last night, a se­nior White House source said the highly- chore­ographed mil­i­tary pa­rade of hard­ware and goose- step­ping troops in the North Korean cap­i­tal Py­ongyang was a cause for con­cern, and Mr Trump was be­ing fully up­dated on what ap­peared to be new weapons sys­tems.

The source added that while US in­tel­li­gence does not be­lieve North Ko­rea yet pos­sesses a mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the US, it is ‘in the works and could be per­fected’.

Con­cern con­tin­ues to mount that Kim Jong Un will test a nu­clear bomb or stage a mis­sile test to mark the 105th an­niver­sary of the birth of the coun­try’s first leader, Kim Ilsung. It is feared that this could trig­ger an Amer­i­can re­sponse lead­ing to war.

The nu­clear-pow­ered air­craft car­rier USS Carl Vin­son is lead­ing a group of war­ships bristling with weaponry and air­craft to­wards the Korean Penin­sula and was yes­ter­day be­lieved to be only 300 miles away from the

‘We will re­spond to all-out war with all-out war’

site where North Ko­rea has al­ready con­ducted five un­der­ground nu­clear tests.

Nu­clear- pow­ered sub­marines equipped with dev­as­tat­ing fire­power in­clud­ing Tom­a­hawk cruise mis­siles are also in the area, ac­cord­ing to Mr Trump.

Bol­ster­ing those forces, US Air Force war­planes have gath­ered for an ex­er­cise at Kadena air base in Ja­pan and USS com­bat troops are sta­tioned on South Ko­rea’s border with the North in an­other ex­er­cise.

With the cri­sis mount­ing hour by hour, the world watched ner­vously yes­ter­day as:

North Ko­rea pa­raded two ap­par­ently new long-range in­ter-con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles (ICBMs) in a mas­sive dis­play of mil­i­tary might as Kim Jong Un looked on;

Sub­ma­rine- launched bal­lis­tic mis­siles ( SLBM) were also on show for the first time, point­ing to a tech­no­log­i­cal leap for­ward that could po­ten­tially evade an­timis­sile sys­tems;

The Krem­lin’s clos­est diplo­mat to Kim warned that a new mis­sile test by the her­mit state was now ‘highly prob­a­ble’;

Mr Trump main­tained an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic si­lence on Twit­ter ahead of Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence’s ar­rival in Seoul to­day on a sched­uled visit to the re­gion;

Ja­panese lead­ers dis­cussed plans to evac­u­ate its 57,000 na­tion­als from South Ko­rea;

A se­cret plan for North Korean spe­cial forces to kid­nap or kill West­ern tourists in South Ko­rea emerged.

Chad O’Car­roll, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of web­site NK (North Ko­rea) News, said the long-range mis­siles would be ‘a big game-changer once it is de­ployed in ser­vice’.

How­ever, he added there would be a long test­ing sched­ule be­fore a trial launch of the mis­sile it­self. Liq­uid- fuel mis­siles also ‘ take hours to fuel up and if there is in­tel­li­gence that they were do­ing that it would be quite easy to stop it be­fore it was launched’.

A se­ries of what ap­peared to be KN-08 mis­siles – an ICBM– were among the weapons rolled out on trucks. They could in the­ory de­liver a 1,500lb pay­load up to 7,000 miles, well within range of the US West Coast, al­though North Ko­rea has yet to flight-test them.

The pa­rade also in­cluded large rock­ets cov­ered by can­is­ters in two dif­fer­ent types of launcher trucks.

An of­fi­cial from South Ko­rea’s Defence Min­istry could not im­me­di­ately con­firm whether any of the rock­ets rep­re­sented a new type of ICBM.

Kim Dong- yub, a North Ko­rea ex­pert at Seoul’s In­sti­tute for Far East­ern Stud­ies, said the can­is­ters and trucks sug­gested that the North was de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy to ‘cold launch’ ICBMs, eject­ing them from the can­is­ters be­fore they ig­nite, mak­ing them harder to de­tect af­ter fir­ing, he said. Cold launches would also al­low the mis­siles to be fired from si­los. The an­a­lyst said it was like­ly­lik l thatth t North Ko­rea was also de­vel­op­ing solid-fuel ICBMs, and that some of the rock­ets in­side the can­is­ters on Saturday might have been pro­to­types.

Other mil­i­tary hard­ware at the pa­rade in­cluded a solid-fuel mis­sile de­signed to be fired from sub­marines. It was the first time North Ko­rea had shown the sub­ma­rine launch mis­siles, which have a range of 600 miles, at a mil­i­tary pa­rade. Dis­play­ing more than one in­di­cates North Ko­rea is pro­gress­ing with its plan to base a mis­sile on a subma- rine, which are hard to de­tect, said Joshua Pol­lack, of the Wash­ing­ton­based Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Re­view.

For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son yes­ter­day said the sit­u­a­tion was be­ing mon­i­tored care­fully, adding: ‘We stand along­side our in­ter­na­tional part­ners in mak­ing clear that North Ko­rea must ad­here to UN res­o­lu­tions de­signed to se­cure peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion and stop its pur­suit of nu­clear weapons.’

Un­der Kim’s watch, North Ko­rea has ag­gres­sively pur­sued a goal of putting a nu­clear war­head on an ICBM ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the

United States. In his an­nual New Year ad­dress, Kim said North Ko­rea’s prepa­ra­tions for an ICBM launch had ‘reached the fi­nal stage’.

Re­cent satel­lite im­agery sug­gests the coun­try could con­duct an­other un­der­ground nu­clear test at any time.

But Mr Trump’s readi­ness to use force, demon­strated with the at­tack on a Syr­ian air base on April 7 and the use of the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ in Afghanistan last week, led to fears of a pre-emp­tive strike from the US to nip North Ko­rea’s fledg­ling nu­clear pro­gramme in the bud.

The MOAB – a non-nu­clear bomb – killed 94 Is­lamic State ter­ror­ists, the Afghan gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day. Plans for a US at­tack us­ing cruise mis­siles to hit North Ko­rea’s nu­clear test site at Mount Man­tap in the north- east of the coun­try have re­port­edly been drawn up in Washington should it be­come con­vinced Kim is on the brink of a nu­clear test.

The test site, deep within the 7,200ft peak, was cre­ated by thou­sands of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers cre­at­ing long hor­i­zon­tal tun­nels, de­spite the hor­ren­dous risks to their own health from the ra­dioac­tiv­ity from pre­vi­ous tests.

Yes­ter­day, Kim, look­ing re­laxed in a dark suit and laugh­ing with aides, over­saw the fes­tiv­i­ties on the ‘Day of the Sun’, the 105th birth an­niver­sary of its found­ing father, Kim Il-sung at Py­ongyang’s main Kim Il-sung Square.

Thou­sands of sol­diers and march­ing bands filled the square, fol­lowed by tanks, mul­ti­ple-launch rocket sys­tems and other weapons. Planes flew in a ‘105’ for­ma­tion over­head to mark the an­niver­sary.

Un­like pre­vi­ous pa­rades at­tended by Kim, there did not ap­pear to be a se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cial in at­ten­dance. China is North Ko­rea’ s lone ma­jor ally but has spo­ken out against its mis­sile and nu­clear tests and has sup­ported United Na­tions sanc­tions. Last week China again called for talks to defuse the cri­sis.

The pa­rade, the an­nual high­light of North Ko­rea’s most im­por­tant hol­i­day, came amid grow­ing in­ter­na­tional wor­ries that the state is pre­par­ing for its sixth nu­clear test or a ma­jor mis­sile launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM ca­pa­ble of reach­ing US shores.

North Ko­rea has long in­sisted that its goal is peace – and sur­vival – with the grow­ing ar­se­nal a way to en­sure that the gov­ern­ment in Py­ongyang is not eas­ily over- thrown. It saw the top­pling of Sad­dam Hus­sein in Iraq and Colonel Gaddafi in Libya – nei­ther of whom had nu­clear weapons – as proof of the weapons’ power.

‘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.

North Ko­rea’s vice for­eign min­is­ter said Mr Trump’s tweets – for ex­am­ple, that the North was ‘look­ing for trou­ble’ – have in­flamed ten­sions. ‘Trump is al­ways mak­ing provo­ca­tions with his ag­gres­sive words,’ Han Song Ryol said. The Rus­sian am­bas­sador in Py­ongyang, Alexan­der Mat­segora, said that a new mis­sile test by North Ko­rea was a ‘high prob­a­bil­ity’, de­spite the chances of US reprisals. Last night, a Bri­tish nu­clear ex­pert, John Large, sug­gested the US’s most ef­fec­tive mil­i­tary op­tion would be a pre-emp­tive strike on North Korean ar­tillery po­si­tions us­ing up to 300 Tom­a­hawk cruise mis­siles.

The US is aware of where the war­heads are stored and has de­tailed satel­lite im­agery of the bases.

‘Launch prepa­ra­tions are at the fi­nal stage’

THREAT: Seen for the first time, Kim Jong Un’s new sub­ma­rine-launched mis­sile

WAR READY: North Ko­rea’s leader waves to his troops. Left: Goose-step­ping fe­male sol­diers

LONG RANGE: One of the in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal mis­siles that could strike tar­gets in the US

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