North Korea Decides Against Starting World War III, At Least Today

A senior North Korean government official says the country is ready to stand up to any threat posed by the United States as he spoke at an enormous parade celebrating the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.

Soldiers carry flowers as they arrive to pay respects at the statues of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il Friday in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Global Times said Trump's decision to drop the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan was clearly "a new gimmick in USA military deterrence" created to intimidate Kim Jong-un.

"The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering", said China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, according to state news agency Xinhua. The administration's immediate emphasis, the officials said, will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of Beijing.

Hours earlier, North Korea paraded what appeared to be long-range ballistic missiles at a major military display.

Wang further hinted that a conflict could break out at any moment, adding that there will be no victor if such a situation arises. "We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks".

He said that the North is also likely developing solid-fuel ICBMs, and that some of the rockets paraded inside canisters on Saturday might be prototypes.

North Korea has warned America to end its "military hysteria" or face retaliation - as a U.S. strike group, including an aircraft carrier, steams towards the region.

North Korea also showcased short-range missiles Saturday that could threaten its neighbors in Asia.

North Korea's aim is to be able to put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach targets around the world.

Officials in Pyongyang said the country would "ruthlessly ravage" the USA if Washington opted for an attack in response to a North Korean weapons test. Counteractions would occur "in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive", the army statement said.

The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM.

Unlike at previous Pyongyang parades there did not appear to be any Chinese representatives present, according to a BBC report.

The minister's comments mark the latest attempt by China to cool tensions between the United States and North Korea, for whom they are a crucial ally and a key supplier of food and fuel aid.

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