Massive numbers of North Korean troops are marching through the streets of Pyongyang today, marching as part of the nation’s most important holiday, the “Day of the Sun,” which commemorates the 105th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder, Kim Il-Sung.
It’s always a holiday with a lot of military pomp, but this year is different, as a US carrier strike group heads to the Korean Peninsula, and soaring tensions between the US and North Korea has China warning that it believes the conflict could break out “at any moment.”
China and Russia are both urging the two nations to calm the situation down, with Russia urging the two sides to both show restraint, while China cautioned each not to go down a path that would lead to an “irreversible route” to a massive war on the Korean Peninsula.
Neither the US nor North Korea seems interested in deescalation at this point, however, with the Trump Administration keen to continue to ratchet up pressure, openly talking about military intervention and suggesting that they can “solve” the problem of North Korea unilaterally.
North Korea is also unwilling to show any signs of backing down under US pressure, insisting that hey are willing to fight a war if President Trump wants one, and threatening nuclear retaliation against US forces in South Korea, as well as across the region.
At the same time, North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister downplayed reports that a nuclear test was imminent, something many fear would lead to a US attack. The minister, Han Song Ryol, insisted that North Korea would carry out a test “when they see fit.”
Though a test over the weekend, as rumored, wouldn’t be totally ruled out by Han’s comments, it seems unlikely that North Korea would present that as a time they “see fit,” when a test conducted right now would obviously be designed to try to needle the US.
Either way, the Pentagon confirmed they are preparing “military options” against North Korea, and haven’t totally ruled out the possibility of a preemptive US attack, though officials did deny that a decision to conduct such an attack has already been made.