North Korea flexed its military muscle in an extravagant parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, with leader Kim Jong-un declaring that the country is prepared to go to war with the United States.
The pageant, which marked the 70th anniversary the ruling Korean Workers' Party, was essentially the diplomatic equivalent of "Come at me, bro."
Thousands of soldiers — some sporting historic uniforms — and throngs of North Korean school girls with replica hand grenades dangling from their necks marched in unison through Kim Il Sung Square, flanked by flatbed trucks displaying a variety of missiles and drones. Warplanes flew in formation over the festivities.
"Our revolutionary force is ready to respond to any kind of war the American imperialists want," Kim said, standing beside visiting Chinese official Liu Yunshan as well as senior members of his own government.
The young leader went on to declare that "through the line of Songun [military-first] politics, our Korean People's Army has become the strongest revolutionary force and our country has become an impenetrable fortress and a global military power."
China's official Xinhua news agency noted that Liu delivered a letter to Kim on behalf of Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the two countries.
Kim did not address Korea's nuclear capabilities in his speech, but the parade reportedly included one group of soldiers carrying packs with radioactive symbols in an apparent nod to the country's nuclear capabilities.
Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of US Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, revealed on Wednesday that US intelligence suggests North Korea has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon at the US. Gortney said American forces are prepared to counter such an attack.
"We're ready for him, and we're ready 24 hours a day if he should be dumb enough to shoot something at us," he said.
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