North Korea has said it is “ready to hit back with nuclear attacks” if the US will take provocative action in the region.
The comments came as North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung.
Soldiers, tanks and other military hardware were paraded in the capital Pyongyang in a show of strength on April 15.
It comes amid speculation that the current leader, Kim Jong-un, could order another nuclear test.
North Korean military official Choe Ryong-Hae said: “We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war.”
He added: “We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks.”
North Korea staged an extravagant display of military strength at April 15 parade amid concern that mounting tensions in the region could lead to a conflict with the US.
Rows of military bands and columns of troops marched into Pyongyang’s main Kim Il-sung square in the heart of the city.
On display for the first time were what appeared to be submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which could be developed to house nuclear warheads capable of reaching targets around the world.
With concerns that the state is getting closer to successfully producing a nuclear arsenal, the parade was an opportunity for Kim Jong-un to broadcast North Korea’s current military capabilities.
The event made clear how vital North Korea’s nuclear program is to its future ambitions as it continues to ignore growing pressure from the US to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.
On April, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that “conflict could break out at any moment”, adding that if war occurred there could be no winner.
China, North Korea’s only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.
“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Wang Yi said.
Adding to Chinese unease, President Donald Trump said on April 13 that “the problem of North Korea” would be “taken care of”.
“If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
President Trump has recently demonstrated his willingness to resort to military methods. He ordered a cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack, and the US military just used a huge bomb against ISIS in Afghanistan.