CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, April 14, 2017



Kim's Special Forces: North Korean despot unveils elite grenade launcher-wielding troops trained to defend him if Trump tries to 'remove' him from power




  • North Korea's Special Forces unit was unveiled at the country's Day Of The Sun celebrations this weekend 
  • The elite soldiers wore night-vision goggles and carried rifles fitted with grenade launchers in Pyongyang
  • Their participation in the military parade is said to be a show of force against the US and President Trump
  • The 'highly trained' squadron is reported to be trained to defend the country should it come under attack



North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un unveiled his deadly Special Forces unit for the first time this weekend in an apparent show of force against US President Donald Trump.
The menacing and 'highly trained' troops yelled patriotic slogans as they carried rifles fitted with grenade launchers through the streets of the Pyongyang during a military parade on Saturday.
The crack team, said to be the best equipped in the Korean People's Army, had night vision goggles affixed to their helmets and handguns strapped to their chest.
'Once Supreme Commander Kim Jong-un issues an order they will charge with resolve to thrust a sword through the enemy's heart like lightning over Mount Paektu [the country's highest peak],' a broadcaster announced on North Korean state TV. 
Its presence at this weekend's Day Of The Sun celebrations comes amid rising tensions with the United States and President Trump, who has refused to rule out a pre-emptive strike if Kim reaches for the nuclear button.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un unveiled his deadly Special Forces unit, pictured, for the first time at a military parade during the country's Day Of The Sun celebrations this weekend
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un unveiled his deadly Special Forces unit, pictured, for the first time at a military parade during the country's Day Of The Sun celebrations this weekend
The menacing and 'highly trained' squadron wore black and green camouflage paint and carried rifles fitted with grenade launchers through the streets of Pyongyang as their leader watched on
The menacing and 'highly trained' squadron wore black and green camouflage paint and carried rifles fitted with grenade launchers through the streets of Pyongyang as their leader watched on
Th appearance of the Special Forces unit, who high fived frenzied North Koreans, comes amid rising tensions with the United States and President Trump
Th appearance of the Special Forces unit, who high fived frenzied North Koreans, comes amid rising tensions with the United States and President Trump
Thousands of North Koreans lined the streets of the capital Pyongyang as soldiers and tanks rolled through to mark the 105th birthday of Kim Jong-un's late grandfather
Thousands of North Koreans lined the streets of the capital Pyongyang as soldiers and tanks rolled through to mark the 105th birthday of Kim Jong-un's late grandfather
North Korea's Special Forces unit is on standby to defend the country from elite US soldiers who are practicing to 'remove' Kim Jong-un from power should war arise, an analyst with South Korea's Yonhap news agency claims.
A Pentagon report singled out the soldiers as 'among the most highly trained, well-equipped, best fed and highly motivated" forces in North Korea's army, CNN reported.
It said the highly secretive force, which is said to have carried out covert missions in South Korea, 'appear designed for rapid offensive operations' and defence against foreign attacks.
The report went on to say the Special Forces 'operate in specialized units, including reconnaissance, airborne and seaborne insertion, commandos and other specialties'. 
It also predicted that North Korea was 'committed to developing a long-range, nuclear-armed missile that is capable of posing a direct threat to the United States'.
In Saturday's parade celebrating the 105th birthday of North Korean founder Kim Jong-ul, his grandson also unveiled a 'game-changing' ballistic missiles which Pyongyang claims can travel thousands of miles. 
The intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) heightened fears the reclusive state is preparing for a possible attack on Washington. They were revealed as Kim Jong-Un warned of deploying them for an an 'annihilating strike' if the US attacks his country. 
The two new kinds of ICBM were enclosed in canister launchers mounted on the backs of trucks as they were paraded in front of cheering crowds. 

Soldiers take part in military parade during Day of the Sun
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North Korea's Special Forces unit is on standby to defend the country from elite US soldiers who are practicing to 'remove' Kim Jong-un from power should war arise, a South Korean analyst claimed
North Korea's Special Forces unit is on standby to defend the country from elite US soldiers who are practicing to 'remove' Kim Jong-un from power should war arise, a South Korean analyst claimed
A Pentagon report singled out the Special Forces soldiers as 'among the most highly trained, well-equipped, best fed and highly motivated" forces in North Korea's army
A Pentagon report singled out the Special Forces soldiers as 'among the most highly trained, well-equipped, best fed and highly motivated" forces in North Korea's army
The Pentagon report claimed North Korea's Special Forces operates 'in specialized units, including reconnaissance, airborne and seaborne insertion'
The Pentagon report claimed North Korea's Special Forces operates 'in specialized units, including reconnaissance, airborne and seaborne insertion'
In Saturday's parade celebrating the 105th birthday of North Korean founder Kim Jong-ul, his grandson also unveiled 'game-changing' intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), pictured
In Saturday's parade celebrating the 105th birthday of North Korean founder Kim Jong-ul, his grandson also unveiled 'game-changing' intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), pictured
The intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) heightened fears the reclusive state is preparing for a possible attack on Washington Pictured: Another set of missiles paraded through the streets of Pyongyang
The intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) heightened fears the reclusive state is preparing for a possible attack on Washington Pictured: Another set of missiles paraded through the streets of Pyongyang
The ICBM missiles were revealed as Kim Jong-Un, above, warned of deploying them for an an 'annihilating strike' if the US attacks his country
The ICBM missiles were revealed as Kim Jong-Un, above, warned of deploying them for an an 'annihilating strike' if the US attacks his country
North Korea reveals unidentified rocket in Day of the Sun parade
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Pyongyang has yet to formally announce it has an operational ICBM but experts believe they the new rockets could be liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles, or an early prototype. 
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles were also on show for the first time, indicating an improving technological capability that could help it evade anti-missile systems.
Meanwhile a gleeful looking Kim, wearing a Western-style suit as he stood over Kim Il-sung Square, saluted formations of soldiers who yelled, 'Long live!', to their despotic ruler.
Kim has accused President Donald Trump of provoking his nation with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.
One of Kim's top officials, Choe Ryong Hae, today vowed North Korea would 'beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice'. 
US Vice President Mike Pence today warned the 'era of patience' with Kim Jong-un is over and insisted America's commitment to South Korea is 'iron-clad'.
Pence, speaking in the perilous Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, reiterated that 'all options are on the table' to deal with the threat posed by Pyongyang.
After travelling to the region with his family, Pence said Donald Trump is hopeful that China will now use its 'extraordinary levers' to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and ballistic programme.
Kim has accused President Donald Trump of provoking his nation with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula
Kim has accused President Donald Trump of provoking his nation with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula
Meanwhile US Vice President Mike Pence has warned the 'era of patience' with Kim Jong-un is over and insisted America's commitment to South Korea is 'iron-clad'. Pictured: North Korean troops 
Meanwhile US Vice President Mike Pence has warned the 'era of patience' with Kim Jong-un is over and insisted America's commitment to South Korea is 'iron-clad'. Pictured: North Korean troops 
Thousands of North Korean troops armed with rifles took part in the show of force, which saw North Korea flaunt sophisticated new military hardware
Thousands of North Korean troops armed with rifles took part in the show of force, which saw North Korea flaunt sophisticated new military hardware
US officials feared Kim Jong-un would mark the national holiday by launching its sixth nuclear weapons test, since the country has used previous holidays to showcase its military prowess
US officials feared Kim Jong-un would mark the national holiday by launching its sixth nuclear weapons test, since the country has used previous holidays to showcase its military prowess
This morning he warned Kim Jong-un not to 'test the resolve' of the US President and insisted any use of nuclear weapons by the secretive state would be met with 'an overwhelming and effective response'.
The visit came shortly after a failed North Korean missile launch that some claim may have been 'thwarted by cyber attacks from the US.' 
Trump has ordered a naval strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, to the region, though the vessels remain a long way from the peninsula.
But this morning, Japanese media claimed both China and Russia had dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the 'armada' amid mounting concern over the US deployment. The claims were made by multiple sources of the Japanese government

North Korea makes menacing boast it will take on Donald Trump with ‘merciless’ strikes on South Korea and US bases as China warns of 'war at any moment'
  • Vice Minister Han Song Ryol accused Trump of building up a 'vicious cycle' of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and pointed to his 'aggressive tweets'
  • The military said it would target US bases and 'headquarters of evils' including the South Korean presidential Blue Houseif it was attacked
  • Han blamed the US and Trump for growing tensions, citing military exercises with South Korea and the deployment of a US aircraft carrier to the peninsula
  • Han ominously warned the US the state would 'go to war if they choose' and vowed to continue accumulating nuclear arms
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said anyone provoking conflict would 'pay the price'
  • Pyongyang is preparing to mark its national 'Day of the Sun' tomorrow to commemorate the birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung
  • US officials told NBC the US was prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike to halt a nuclear test, but a member of the Trump administration denied the report 
  • US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally 
North Korea upped its warmongering with Donald Trump today in a series of menacing boasts threatening to 'ravage' US troops amid fears the two countries are heading for war.
The secretive state vowed to 'pulverize' US bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it was threatened by the US military, which is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula. A US aircraft carrier group is steaming towards the region. 
It claimed it would 'ruthlessly ravage' the US if Washington attacked. China warned the region could go to war 'at any moment'.
The rhetoric comes after North Korea warned that President Donald Trump's 'troublemaking' and 'aggressive' tweets have pushed the world to the brink of thermo-nuclear war.
Pyongyang's Vice Minister Han Song Ryol accused Trump of building up a 'vicious cycle' of tensions and warned the US against provoking North Korea militarily. He said: 'We will go to war if they choose.'
He added the country would continue developing its nuclear program and conduct its next nuclear test whenever its leaders see fit.
In the past week Trump has shown his willingness to launch military strikes, with US missiles deployed in Syria and Afghanistan. 
North Korea, led by dictator Kim Jong-un, vowed to 'pulverize' US bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it was threatened by the US military, which is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula
North Korea, led by dictator Kim Jong-un, vowed to 'pulverize' US bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it was threatened by the US military, which is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was pictured this week overseeing a special forces commando operation, as leaders warned a war could break out imminently with the US
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was pictured this week overseeing a special forces commando operation, as leaders warned a war could break out imminently with the US
In other developments today, as tensions heighten in the Korean peninsula:
  • The North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace warned a thermo-nuclear war could break out at any moment
  • China's foreign minister Wang Yi said anyone who provokes conflict would 'pay the price', and said there would be 'no winners'. China warned war could break out 'at any moment'
  • Air China announced that flights between Beijing and Pyongyang will be suspended from Monday
  • The Kremlin voiced concern about the escalation of tensions, and called for 'restraint' from all parties 
  • The Korean People's Army in North Korea threatened to 'pulverize' US military bases in South Korea, and the South Korean presidential Blue House 
  • North Korea cited US-South Korean wargames, the deployment of a US aircraft carrier to the peninsula last weekend, as well as Trump's recent tweets as the cause of the threat of war
  • South Korea's Foreign Ministry said saying Han's remarks reveal the 'true colours of North Korea's government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations'
  • Japan said it is maintaining high levels of surveillance and taking 'every possible measure' to respond to any contingency on the Korean peninsula 
The US has been carrying out operations in the Korean peninsula alongside Japanese allies to enhance combat readiness
The US has been carrying out operations in the Korean peninsula alongside Japanese allies to enhance combat readiness
US Army soldiers were pictured today taking part in exercises close to the border between North Korea in Paju, South Korea
US Army soldiers were pictured today taking part in exercises close to the border between North Korea in Paju, South Korea
Fully armed US Aircraft from the 18th Wing during the no-notice exercise in the Korean Peninsula
Fully armed US Aircraft from the 18th Wing during the no-notice exercise in the Korean Peninsula
North Korea's military said it would 'ruthlessly ravage' the United States if Washington chose to attack. 
The Korean People's Army statement boasted that US military bases in the South 'as well as the headquarters of evils such as the (South Korean presidential) Blue House would be pulverized within a few minutes'. 
Han's earlier comments come as tensions rise over the possibility Kim Jong-un's regime will launch another nuclear weapons test tomorrow as North Korea marks the national holiday Day of the Sun, commemorating the birth of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung. 
Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang, today
Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang, today
A North Korean soldier pictured today gazing across the Yalu river opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on a day when China warned war could break out 'at any moment'
A North Korean soldier pictured today gazing across the Yalu river opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on a day when China warned war could break out 'at any moment'
North Korean officials warned President Trump against acting aggressively against the secretive state
North Korean officials warned President Trump against acting aggressively against the secretive state
At the same time, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace issued a statement condemning the United States for attacking Syria last week, while also calling for 'peace by strength'.
'The US introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war,' the North's KCNA news agency said on Friday, citing the statement.

RUSSIAN LAWMAKER WARNS 'US IS A GREATER THREAT THAN NORTH KOREA' 

A senior Russian lawmaker said the US is a greater threat to global peace than North Korea.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, said today: 'The most alarming thing about the current U.S. administration is that you can't be sure if it is bluffing or really going to implement its threats.'
He said 'America objectively poses a greater threat to peace than North Korea,' adding that 'the entire world is scared and left guessing if it strikes or not.;
Kosachev said there is a "small hope" that President Donald Trump's administration would listen to warnings from Russia and China not to use military force.'This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment on the peninsula and posed serious threat to the world peace and security, to say nothing of those in Northeast Asia,' it said. 
In a statement, the North Korean military, quoted by state media agency KCNA, said: '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 statements were criticised by South Korea's Foreign Ministry, which said Han's remarks revealed the 'true colours of North Korea's government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations'.
It said North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
China immediately responded, saying anyone provoking conflict will 'pay the price'.
China's foreign minister Wang Yi said today there would be 'no winner' in any war, as tensions mount with the US.
He told reporters in Beijing: 'Dialogue is the only possible solution.'
Wang stated: 'Lately, tensions have risen with the US and the ROK (Republic of Korea in the South) on one side, and the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North) on the other, and one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment.
'If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner.'
Wang said that whichever side provoked a conflict 'must assume the historic responsibility and pay the corresponding price'. 
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: 'Moscow is watching with great concern the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. We call for restraint from all countries and warn countries not to pursue actions that could consist of any provocative steps.'
US troops carrying out military exercises near the border between North and South Korea in Paju, South Korea, today as tensions escalate
US troops carrying out military exercises near the border between North and South Korea in Paju, South Korea, today as tensions escalate
US Air Force 44th and 67th Fighter Squadron F-15 Eagles and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron E-3 Sentries taxi down the runway in the joint drills with Japan which have provoked North Korean anger
US Air Force 44th and 67th Fighter Squadron F-15 Eagles and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron E-3 Sentries taxi down the runway in the joint drills with Japan which have provoked North Korean anger
The tension around North Korea is high ahead of a major North Korean holiday, the birthday of its founding dictator Kim Il Sung, tomorrow
The tension around North Korea is high ahead of a major North Korean holiday, the birthday of its founding dictator Kim Il Sung, tomorrow
North Korea blames Trump and the US for the rising tensions, according to Han, who cited US-South Korean wargames, the deployment of a US aircraft carrier to the peninsula last weekend, as well as Trump's recent tweets on Tuesday that the North is 'looking for trouble'. 
Han's remarks, on the eve of the country's biggest national holiday, the 'Day of the Sun', were released hours after a member of the Trump administration denied a report claiming the US was prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike to halt any nuclear test at the weekend. 
North Korea's vice foreign minister Han Song Ryol blamed President Donald Trump on Friday for 'making trouble' through his 'aggressive tweets'
North Korea's vice foreign minister Han Song Ryol blamed President Donald Trump on Friday for 'making trouble' through his 'aggressive tweets'
He ordered air strikes on a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapon attack and yesterday dropped the 'mother of all bombs' on a network of caves in Afghanistan, killing 36 ISIS fighters. 
In another show of force, US military planes have been conducting military drills alongside Japan in the Korean peninsula. 
On Tuesday the US President tweeted: 'North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.'  
 Trump's recent tweets on Tuesday said the North is 'looking for trouble' 
 Trump's recent tweets on Tuesday said the North is 'looking for trouble' 
North Korea has warned that the US President's comments on Twitter this week have brought the world closer to thermo-nuclear war 
Trump also called North Korea a 'menace' earlier this week and tweeted that if China doesn't do its part to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the US 'will solve the problem without them'.
Han said: 'As long as the nuclear threats and blackmail go on with the military exercises, we will carry forward with our national defense buildup, the core of which is the nuclear arms buildup.' 
He also talked of a sixth nuclear test, saying: 'That is something that our headquarters decides. At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place.'
The North Korean official dismissed the suggestion Trump made last year during his presidential campaign that he was willing to meet Kim, possibly over hamburgers.
'I think that was nothing more than lip service during the campaign to make himself more popular," Han said.
'Now we are comparing Trump's policy toward the DPRK with the former administration's and we have concluded that it's becoming more vicious and more aggressive.' 
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned there would be 'no winner' if a conflict broke out between the United States and North Korea
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned there would be 'no winner' if a conflict broke out between the United States and North Korea
Trump diverted the USS Carl Vinson (pictured in March) toward the Korean peninsula last weekend  in a show of force against North Korea
Trump diverted the USS Carl Vinson (pictured in March) toward the Korean peninsula last weekend  in a show of force against North Korea
US Vice President Mike Pence will embark on a 10-day visit to Asia, starting in South Korea on Sunday with contingency plans should it coincide with a nuclear test, a White House adviser said. 
CIA director Mike Pompeo said North Korea was closer now than it had ever been to being able to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental missile and increased its technical know-how with each new test. 
Experts do not believe North Korea has a deliverable long-range nuclear weapon, or intercontinental missiles.
But that could change within the next few years, as experts say North Korea could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the US mainland during Trump's watch as president.

'KIM MAY BE ABLE TO STRIKE THE U.S. MAINLAND WITHIN FOUR YEARS' WARNS EX-CIA DIRECTOR

Dennis Wilder warned that North Korea could be able to launch missiles that can hit the US west coast within four years
Dennis Wilder warned that North Korea could be able to launch missiles that can hit the US west coast within four years
North Korea could be capable of carrying out a missile strike on the US mainland within Donald Trump's first term as president, a former presidential adviser has warned.
Dennis Wilder, who was a special assistant to George W Bush, urged world leaders not to underestimate Kim Jong-un.
Wilder, who has served as CIA deputy assistant for East Asia and the Pacific, told ABC that North Korea could develop long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US west coast within four years.
He said: 'We believe, and American intelligence estimates say this, that the North Koreans could have such a weapon within the next four years. In other words, during the term of President Trump.'
But he warned that as tensions heighten, it is the South Korean population which is currently at the greatest risk from Pyongyang.
Wilder said: 'Seoul is within artillery range of the demilitarised zone. We know that this is a dangerous situation for the South Korean people and the 10 million people there.' 
Aerial photos taken Tuesday show continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear site where US officials fear a nuclear device has been installed in a tunnel ahead of another test.
And Han, referring to North Korea as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said Friday: 'If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK's preemptive strike.
'We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. preemptive strike.' 
The message had been echoed in the days before, when North Korea said it would launch a 'merciless retaliatory strike' against US military action.
Pyongyang also recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.
Satellite images of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site taken on April 12 appears to show vehicles  parked around the North Portal of the site. North Korean monitoring service 38 North said the facility is 'primed and ready' for a sixth nuclear test
Satellite images of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site taken on April 12 appears to show vehicles parked around the North Portal of the site. North Korean monitoring service 38 North said the facility is 'primed and ready' for a sixth nuclear test
But North Korea blames Trump and the US for the rising tensions, according to Han.
'Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words. So that's why. It's not the DPRK but the U.S. and Trump that makes trouble,' he said.
The annual military exercises have consistently infuriated the North, which views them as rehearsals for an invasion. 
Washington and Seoul deny that, but reports that exercises have included 'decapitation strikes' aimed at the North's leadership have fanned Pyongyang's anger.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally
'Our stance toward their hostile policy is strident and clear-cut,' Han said. 'Now the Trump administration is thinking about several options as regards the DPRK. Those options include such reckless options as headquarter decapitation and the pre-emptive strike.
'Whatever comes from the US, we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.' 
US intelligence officials told NBC if the US is convinced North Korea will follow through on a test, it can preemptively deploy Tomahawk missiles from two warships parked in the region.
Bombers are also being lined up in Guam, and cyber and special operations on the ground may be utilized, the officials said.
But a member of the administration shot down the idea, describing the report as 'flat wrong', while another official told Reuters it was 'speculative at best'.
The Pentagon declined comment, saying, as a policy, it does not discuss future operations 'nor publicly speculate on possible scenarios.'

North Korea gears up to celebrate the 'Day of the Sun'

Amid rising regional tensions, Pyongyang residents have been preparing for North Korea's most important holiday: the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.
Saturday's holiday, known as the Day of the Sun, normally includes an immense military parade and synchronized public performances, sometimes involving tens of thousands of people. 
North Koreans placed flower baskets and bouquets below portraits of founder president Kim Il Sung on Friday. 
A light rain fell in the capital, as people wearing gumboots and holding umbrellas walked past portraits of the late leader and signs proclaiming 'Sun Day is the most significant event in North Korea'.
Government minders have not confirmed any details  about Saturday with visiting foreign journalists. However, it is likely the current leader, Kim Jong Un, will make an appearance.
North Korean schoolgirls perform at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea
North Korean schoolgirls perform at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea
Children perform a variety dance and music show during an organised tour of the Childrens Cultural Palace for visiting foreign journalists on the outskirts of Pyongyang on April 14
Children perform a variety dance and music show during an organised tour of the Childrens Cultural Palace for visiting foreign journalists on the outskirts of Pyongyang on April 14
Such pageantry reinforces the cult of personality around the Kim family, three of whom have ruled North Korea with a vice-like grip.
The visiting journalists saw nothing out of the ordinary in Pyongyang despite the talk of war.
However, when foreign journalists visit North Korea, their movements are closely managed and they are usually restricted to Pyongyang. Conversations with people are monitored by government 'minders', who also provide translations into English.
Near the birthplace of Kim Il Sung, a pilgrimage spot for North Koreans, commuters on Friday moved briskly on and off the subway, young women holding umbrellas walked by, clasping arms, while two children in blue school uniforms shuffled down the street holding a flower basket almost their own size.
'If the enemies want to wage war with our leaders, we have nothing to fear because we will win,' said Jon Myon Sop, who works at a bus station.
'I know about how tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula and how the U.S. and its puppet countries have brought their military assets to the region.'
Cho Hyon Ran, a tour guide at the site, said: 'We don't want war but we are not afraid of war because we have strong power, our country is the strongest one in the world now.
'You can see all people are laughing, all people are singing, all people are celebrating the Sun's day,' she said in English. 'We are not afraid of anything.' 
North Korean school boys sing at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea
North Korean school boys sing at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea
Amid rising regional tensions, Pyongyang residents have been preparing for North Korea's most important holiday: the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung
Amid rising regional tensions, Pyongyang residents have been preparing for North Korea's most important holiday: the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung
North Korean schoolgirls attend a dance class at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace ahead of the Day of the Sun
North Korean schoolgirls attend a dance class at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace ahead of the Day of the SunU.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally.
Pence's Seoul stop kicks off a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia - his first as vice president - and comes amid concerns that Pyongyang could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test.
President Donald Trump has warned against further provocations, sending an aircraft carrier group to the region as a show of force. His officials have been assessing tougher economic sanctions as well as military options to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
Pence plans to celebrate Easter with US and Korean troops on Sunday before talks on Monday with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

NORTH KOREAN CRISIS: HOW THE WORLD REACTED

Key developments which have happened following Vice Minister Han Song Ryol's comments today:
  • Japan says it is maintaining high levels of surveillance and taking 'every possible measure' to respond to any contingency on the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Japan is coordinating with the US, South Korea and other countries and will continue efforts to convince North Korea to refrain from further provocations and comply with UN resolutions banning Pyongyang's missile technology development.
  • A senior Russian lawmaker says the US is a greater threat to global peace than North Korea. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, said: 'The most alarming thing about the current US administration is that you can't be sure if it is bluffing or really going to implement its threats.' He said: 'America objectively poses a greater threat to peace than North Korea.'
  • The Kremlin says it is watching the developments around North Korea with 'great concern.' President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is calling on all parties to show restraint and refrain from any provocative action. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the US that attempts to rely on force to pressure North Korea will not help.
  • South Korea's Foreign Ministry has criticised comments by North Korea's vice foreign minister Han Song Ryol, saying they reveal the 'true colours of North Korea's government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations'. It says North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says there would be no winners in an armed conflict between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs. Wang told reporters that all sides must stop provoking and threatening each other in their words and actions and take a flexible approach to resuming dialogue.
  • Some Chinese experts said they see little immediate possibility of hostilities breaking out between the US and North Korea, but say Beijing will respond harshly to any further North Korean nuclear tests. Director of Jilin University's Institute of Northeast Asian Studies Guo Rui said President Trump's domestic troubles should prevent him taking such action, while North Korea doesn't appear to be on a war footing. Guo says although the tension on the Korean Peninsula is high, it's not high to the point of having an imminent war. 'We're going to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea's efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program,' a White House foreign policy adviser told reporters, previewing Pence's trip.
Pence will land in Seoul the day after North Korea's biggest national day, the 'Day of the Sun.' 
The White House has contingency plans for Pence's trip should it coincide with a another North Korean nuclear test by its leader Kim Jong Un, the adviser said.
'Unfortunately, it's not a new surprise for us. He continues to develop this program, he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan,' the adviser said.
'With the regime it's not a matter of if - it's when. We are well prepared to counter that,' the adviser said.  
U.S. officials have played down the prospect of any military strike against North Korea, which would likely provoke massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries. 
China, North Korea's sole major ally and neighbor, opposes its weapons program and has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the denuclearization of the peninsula.
'Military force cannot resolve the issue,' Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. 'Amid tensions we will also find a kind of opportunity to return to talks.' 
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also underscored fears about possible threats from North Korea, telling parliament in Tokyo that Pyongyang could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

'IT WAS LIKE THE BULLETS HAD EYES': KIM PRAISES TROOPS AFTER SPECIAL FORCES TRAINING DRILL

North Korean despot Kim Jong-un this week oversaw a special forces commando operation as tensions soar with Washington over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
Pictures released by state media show the dictator looking on from an observation post and smiling as special forces troops dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'.
According to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim praised his troops for their precision, saying 'the bullets seemed to have their own eyes'.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has overseen a special forces commando operation, state media said on April 13. Pictured, an undated photo of the regime's special operation forces
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has overseen a special forces commando operation, state media said on April 13. Pictured, an undated photo of the regime's special operation forces
It did not identify when and where the operation had been held.
The agency's report said: 'The contest proved once again that our Korean People's Army... will show a real taste of gun shot and real taste of war to the reckless invaders.'
The North has since said it is ready for war with the US, while speculation is mounting that it might conduct a nuclear or missile test to mark the 105th birthday anniversary of founder Kim Il-Sung on Saturday.
The reclusive state has long been on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five atomic tests, two of them last year. 
The smiling North Korean leader is seen watching his 'elite fighting force' on a military training exercise in photos released today
The smiling North Korean leader is seen watching his 'elite fighting force' on a military training exercise in photos released today
The Rodong Sinmun - the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party - carried several photos from the contest showing firefight excercises
The Rodong Sinmun - the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party - carried several photos from the contest showing firefight excercises
Yesterday Kim oversaw a commando operation in which special forces dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'
Yesterday Kim oversaw a commando operation in which special forces dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'
Kim praised his troops for their precision in the training exercise (pictured), saying 'the bullets seemed to have their own eyes', state news agency KCNA said
Kim praised his troops for their precision in the training exercise (pictured), saying 'the bullets seemed to have their own eyes', state news agency KCNA said
US military officials fear North Korea has placed a nuclear test in a tunnel with the potential to detonate it on Saturday. Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) flanked by vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae at an opening ceremony for 'Rymoyong street', a new housing development in Pyongyang today
US military officials fear North Korea has placed a nuclear test in a tunnel with the potential to detonate it on Saturday. Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) flanked by vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae at an opening ceremony for 'Rymoyong street', a new housing development in Pyongyang today
Tensions are high after Trump tweeted that he had 'a very good call' with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night dealing with 'the menace of North Korea'
Tensions are high after Trump tweeted that he had 'a very good call' with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night dealing with 'the menace of North Korea'
Washington-based 38 North, who monitors North Korea, has reported 'unusually high levels of activity' at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site over the past four weeks. 
New satellite imagery from April 2 showed there was more activity around the North Portal, which is the tunnel where the four most recent nuclear tests have taken place.
It was revealed that Kim Jong-Un had overseen a special forces commando operation, watching from an observation post as special forces dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'.
With a broad smile on his face, Kim praised his troops for their precision, saying 'the bullets seemed to have their own eyes', KCNldiers.A said, without identifying when the operation was held.
The Rodong Sinmun - the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party - carried several photos from the contest including one of Kim watching the troops parachuting down from jets into an open field. Another showed him grinning from ear-to-ear as he walked by cheering soldiers












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