North Korea warns US it is "ready" for a nuclear attack and would respond with "annihilating strike" as war tensions mount

Francesca Washtell
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North Korea is today celebrating the "Day of the Sun", a celebration of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country's founder and father to the current leader (Source: Getty)

North Korea's leadership has warned the US it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks" if provoked.

The warning came as the country celebrates the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, its founding father, and displayed what appear to be new submarine-based and long-range missiles in a huge military parade.

A nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier group is currently making its way towards the region, prompted by concerns over the regimes missile and nuclear testing in defiance of UN sanctions.

Read more: US positions warships closer to North Korea

A close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Choe Ryong Hae, addressed a packed square in Pyongyang today, saying:

If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare.

The US has warned that a policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

Read more: Trump says US could take solo action against North Korea threat

Vice president Mike Pence will travel to South Korea tomorrow as part of a 10-day trip to Asia.

As tension between the US and North Korea has increased, China has urged both sides to step back from the brink of war.

Speaking in Beijing yesterday, China's foreign minister Wang Yi warned the region is facing a "precarious situation" and that a conflict could break out "at any moment".

"We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not to let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage," Wang said, according to official news agency Xinhua.

Read more: North Korea test-fires ballistic missile as Trump and Abe meet

President Donald Trump yesterday said he is optimistic China will "properly deal" with North Korea:

The Associated Press has quoted US officials as saying the Trump administration will focus on working with China to raise pressure on North Korea rather than stepping in with military force.

Increased tension in the region was featured on many of today's front pages:

Read more: War with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions is now a real possibility

Although isolationist during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump's latest moves into North Korea follow other significant international action.

On Thursday, the US dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a base in Afghanistan held by members of so-called Islamic State. The near-10,000kg bomb on a network of tunnels was the largest non-nuclear device used in combat.

And earlier this month, the US navy attacked a Syrian airfield with 59 missiles following a suspected chemical weapons attack against civilians.

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