North Korea paraded its intercontinental ballistic missiles in a massive military display in central Pyongyang on Saturday, with ruler Kim Jong Un looking on with delight as his nation flaunted its increasingly sophisticated military hardware amid rising regional tensions.
However, U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Friday that the Trump administration has settled on a policy that will emphasize on 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 leadership.
He criticised President Trump for "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.
And amid growing tensions with Washington, high-ranking party official Choe Ryong Hae warned at the parade that Pyongyang was ready for war with the US and was prepared for preemptive strikes if circumstances required.
North Korea warned the United States on Saturday to end its "military hysteria" or face retaliation as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region and the reclusive state marked the "Day of the Sun", the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father.
Soldiers carried out on trucks North Korea's "Pukguksong" missile, which can be fired from a submarine.
The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off Korea after heading for Australia, and US satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.
The extended-range Scud missile in that earlier launch suffered an in-flight failure and fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, according to US imagery and assessments.
An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.
The North has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering all the necessary technology.
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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.
President Donald Trump recently tweeted that if China can't crack down on North Korea, the USA will have to step in. In recent years, it has marked the date with rocket and missile tests. During his New Year's address, Kim said the country's preparations for an ICBM launch had "reached the final stage".
A series of what appeared to be KN-08 missiles were among the weapons rolled out on trucks.
Last week, Trump announced he was sending an aircraft carrier strike group towards North Korea as the anniversary approached.
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and Pyongyang says that it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against a possible United States invasion.
The North, which security experts say could have more than a dozen nuclear devices, first conducted an underground test in 2006.
But 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", he told AFP.
The North conducted two such tests a year ago alone.
Displaying more than one of the missiles indicates North Korea is progressing with its plan to base a missile on a submarine, which are hard to detect, said Joshua Pollack, editor of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Review.
Even without nuclear weapons, the North could cause severe damage with its conventional artillery batteries aimed at the South Korean capital of Seoul.