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
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