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The tone of tensions: Korean voices, North and South

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi right gestures while speaking during a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing Friday

Military vehicles carrying missiles in a parade marking the 105th anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea April 15, 2017.

North Korean state television showed Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, stepping out of a black limousine.

It was the first time North Korea had shown the missiles, which have a range of more than 1,000 kilometres, at a military parade. Pyongyang has defied the Chinese government's repeated requests and warnings to cease both its nuclear tests and its ballistic missile launches.

North Korean soldiers also rolled out what appeared to be another large rocket covered by a canister. An official from South Korea's Defence Ministry couldn't immediately confirm whether the rocket was a new ICBM.

The parade may also feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles. This would allow North Korea to prevent its limited number of ICBM-capable launcher trucks from being damaged during launches and also make the missiles harder to detect after they're fired, he said.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has yet to mention anything about an ICBM at the parade.

He criticized the new US government under President Donald Trump for "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

On Saturday he told the packed-out square: 'If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare'.

Other senior officials joining Kim at the podium included Kim Won Hong, who the South Korean government had said earlier this year was sacked from his job as state security minister, presumably over corruption.

South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea, as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

"We don't think about other things, we just live in our belief that we will win as long as our Supreme Leader is with us", Ho said, referring to Kim Jong Un.

He passed the leadership over to his son, Kim Jong Il, who in turn passed it to his son, current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In his annual New Year's address, Kim said that North Korea's preparations for an ICBM launch have "reached the final stage".

U.S. Army troops and Air Force conducted military exercises on Saturday near the border between the two countries in Paju.

Choe Ryong Hae, who some say is the second-most powerful official in North Korea, said in a speech that the country is ready to stand up to any threat posed by the US.

It has carried out five nuclear tests -- two of them a year ago -- and multiple missile launches, one of which saw several rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month.

But as speculation mounts that Pyongyang is poised for a "big event", a United States aircraft carrier group is steaming towards the region.

"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", the official said, according to North Korea's state news agency.

But US officials told The Associated Press yesterday that the Trump administration had settled on a policy that will emphasise increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow Kim's regime.

This image captured from footage on North Korea's state TV broadcaster on April 15, 2017, shows what appears to be submarine-launched ballistic missiles unveiled at a military parade to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung.

The Associated Press furthers notes that in a statement Friday, North Korea's military drew parallels to past US actions against Iraq and Libya.

The event made clear how vital the state's nuclear programme is to its future ambitions as it continues to ignore growing pressure from the USA to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

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