The Latest: Japan says it must remain on alert over N. Korea

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2017 12:49 AM
The Latest: Japan says it must remain on alert over N. Korea

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The latest on celebrations in North Korea marking the 105th birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Japan's foreign minister says his country needs to remain on alert over North Korea even after this weekend's celebrations.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida made the comment to reporters Saturday just as a massive parade started in North Korea marking the 105th birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung.

Kishida noted that more events are expected in North Korea later in April, and said "there is a possibility that the country may take action on those occasions."

North Korea has another big military holiday on April 25, when its army marks its anniversary.

Kishida said that Japan needs "to be fully prepared to take various measures." He did not elaborate.

He said Japan's government has routinely coordinated with representatives of tens of thousands of Japanese residents in South Korea on contingency plans.

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12:10 p.m.

Prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles have highlighted a broad range of military hardware North Korea displayed in a massive parade honoring the country's late founding father.

North Korean state television showed what appeared to be several KN-08 and KN-14 missiles rolled out on trucks at the parade Saturday celebrating the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung. Third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un watched in delight from a podium.

Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them.

North Korean soldiers also rolled out another large rocket that appeared to be the size of an ICBM, but what a South Korean military analyst said hasn't been seen before.

Other military hardware at the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery guns, as well as a solid-fuel missile designed to be fired from submarines. Also on display was a powerful midrange missile, which outside analysts call "Musudan," and which can potentially reach U.S. air bases in Guam.

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11 a.m.

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 immense parade celebrating the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.

Choe Ryong Hae, who some presume as the second-most powerful official in North Korea, said Saturday that the new U.S. government under Donald Trump was "creating a war situation" in the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

The United States a few days ago dispatched what Trump called an "armada" of ships in a show of force, including an aircraft carrier, into waters off the peninsula amid fears that North Korea was preparing another round of nuclear or missile tests.

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack," Choe said during the parade in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, which was also attended by Kim Jong Un.

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9:50 a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made an appearance at an immense military parade celebrating the birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

North Korean state television showed Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, stepped out of a black limousine and saluted his honor guard before walking down a red carpet.

He then walked up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to address the thousands of soldiers and a massive crowd taking part in the parade in capital Pyongyang.

South Korean analysts have said that the North might use the parade to showcase its strategic weapons, such as prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In his annual New Year's address, Kim said that the country's preparations for an ICBM launch have "reached the final stage." Analysts say commercial satellite images from recent weeks indicate increased activity around North Korea's nuclear test site.

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9:39 a.m.

North Korea has started a massive parade in Pyongyang to mark the 105th birthday of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, and trumpet the leadership of third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un.

North Korea's state television showed thousands of soldiers marching at Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday to kick off the event that is expected to be attended by leader Kim Jong Un.

The parade may feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

The country under his watch has been aggressively pursuing a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States.