North Korea parades what appears to be new ICBM

Against the backdrop of rising tensions with the United States, North Korea showed off new missiles in a military parade Saturday marking the birth of the country's founding leader, Kim Il Sung.

North Korea has raised the terrifying prospect of nuclear war amid recent developments that have seen the US Navy send a strike group into the Korean peninsula to boost defences and provide a more physical presence in the area. Thousands of soldiers paraded through Kim Il Sung Square, followed by several tanks.

Britain said it was "concerned" by reports that North Korea conducted a missile test on Sunday, which the US Defence Department said blew up nearly immediately.

"The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering", said China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Choe Ryong Hae, who some presume as the second-most powerful official in North Korea, said the new United States government under Donald Trump was "creating a war situation" in the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

Now, U.S. officials are speculating that North Korea will conduct its sixth nuclear test on the country's most important holiday - April 15th or "Day of the Sun" as it's known in North Korea.

As tensions heighten in the peninsula, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, warned that confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea had escalated to such a point that "a military conflict may start at any moment".

Mr Han Song said: "Whatever comes from the U.S., we will cope with it".

In his annual New Year's address, Kim said that North Korea's preparations for an ICBM launch have "reached the final stage".

Despite such belligerent comments, Pyongyang's top priority is the survival of Kim Jong Un's regime.

Weapons analysts said they believed some of the missiles on display were new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The development comes days after the United States dispatched what Trump referred to as an "armada" of warships in a show of force into waters off the Korean peninsula amid concerns that Pyongyang was preparing another round of nuclear or missile tests.

North Korea also showcased short-range missiles Saturday that could threaten its neighbors in Asia. Officials say that two destroyers are within range of North Korea to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Amid rising tensions, the United States has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off North Korea and has engaged in the biggest-ever joint military exercise with its South Korea allies, prompting North Korea to warn it will take the "toughest countermeasures", to include razing US bases in South Korea, NK News reported.

Pyongyang has also expressed anger over the ongoing annual spring military exercises the US holds with South Korea, which it considers a rehearsal for invasion.

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