North Korea shows off new missiles as U.S. carrier group approaches | Pix

A US Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about US president Donald Trump's plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States.

At the parade, which was attended by Kim Jong-un, Choe Ryong-hae, believed to be the country's second most powerful official, said: "We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war".

American intelligence officials have reportedly said the U.S. is ready to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea if it is sure Pyongyang is about to stage another nuclear weapons test.

North Korea warned the United States to end its "military hysteria" earlier on Saturday or face retaliation as a USA aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

State television showed Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, clapping in delight along with senior government officials to acknowledge the thousands of soldiers and civilians taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square in the capital, Pyongyang. 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.

North Korea's Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) were also on parade.

The parade was in celebration of the 105th birthday of the regime's founder and former leader Kim Il-sung.

He reiterated his call for more pressure from China, North Korea's main ally in the region, to clamp down on trade and back stronger enforcement of United Nations sanctions as a means to force denuclearization.

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Britain said it was "concerned" by reports that North Korea conducted a missile test on Sunday, which the US Defence Department said blew up nearly immediately.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: "The time for action is now and by that we need to look at ways to put increased pressure on North Korea in order for it to recognise the reality that it needs to pursue denuclearisation".

China quickly responded to the new jousting in the nuclear hotspot, saying there will be no victor in a war between the US and North Korea.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an expert on North Korean weaponry said the missiles appeared to be extremely advanced, calling the new long-range missile-a newly-modified intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with elements of two other ICBMs-a "frankenmissile".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea on Sunday to begin a 10-day trip to Asia that comes amid turmoil on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea's threats to advance its nuclear and defense capabilities, and just after a failed missile launch by the North.

China on Friday warned North Korea, its ally, and the United States to de-escalate tensions before the situation in the peninsula reached "an irreversible and unmanageable stage". Outside analysts consider Choe to be North Korea's number two official.

However, Associated Press quoted U.S. officials as saying that the Trump administration was focusing more on raising pressure on North Korea with the help of China rather than using military force.

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