North Korea rolls out missiles

In this image made from video broadcast by North Korean broadcaster KRT North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un salutes during a parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang Saturday

North Korea on Saturday celebrated its biggest holiday with a military parade showing off its latest missiles, but the nation did not carry out a major weapons test.

Kim did not address the rally, which celebrates the 1912 birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung - North Korea's founding ruler - and which is meant to send an unmistakable message to Washington about the isolated, nuclear-armed North's military might.

North Korea on Saturday warned the United States not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks".

Washington has sent a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group towards North Korea.

South Korea, which hosts 28,500 United States troops, warned of punitive action if the launch led to further provocations such as a nuclear test or a long-range missile launch.

But the North's Workers' Party of Korea Vice Chairman Choe Ryong-hae said in a speech Saturday that Pyongyang is ready to respond to the US with "an all-out war" including nukes.

North Korea has reportedly launched a missile on its east coast which has failed.

Eye witnesses said long-range and submarine-based missiles were shown at the anniversary parade on Saturday. The North also past year launched a long-range rocket that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the "situation on the Korean peninsula" by phone on Sunday, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

Vice-President Mike Pence will be in South Korea on Sunday as part of a 10-day Asia trip.

Cold launches would also allow the missiles to be fired from silos. Many outside analysts believe that North Korea has not yet mastered the technology to build warheads small enough to place on long-range missiles, though some civilian experts say North Korea can already build nuclear-tipped shorter range missiles that have South Korea and Japan within its striking range.

China is seeking Russia's help to cool surging tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the country's foreign minister has told his Moscow counterpart, after Beijing warned of possible conflict over North Korea. In February China banned all imports of North Korean coal, which is a lucrative source of income for the country. Under his watch, North Korea has aggressively pursued a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the USA mainland. US satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

The state has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the South and the United States.

As the world held its breath amid growing nuclear tension thousands of North Korean soldiers, sailors and airmen put on a intimidating display of military might.

A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday from the country's east coast, US and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful USA aircraft carrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

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