The weekend is just getting underway in the U.S., but already I have to say it was a good day.
Saturday is over in Pyongyang, which is 12.5 hours ahead of Eastern Time. That means the much–anticipated April 15 North Korean holiday has ended without any event that would trigger a possible U.S. attack, and therefore, possible World War III.
Intelligence agencies and analysts had warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might commemorate the annual holiday Saturday marking the 105th birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, to conduct a nuclear weapons test or yet another missile test.
The U.S. had scrambled a carrier battle group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the area near the Korean Peninsula, prompting aggressive comments from North Korea on Friday.
By Friday, the world had begun to brace itself for a potential war should the U.S. respond to any weapons testing with a unilateral strike. But neither of those events happened, at least not today.
North Korea did, however, hold a large military parade on the annual Day of the Sun celebration, in what The Washington Post described as “a defiant show of force in front of the world.”
According to the newspaper, Kim showed off “a lot” of its newest missiles, including a submarine-launched ballistic missile and a land-based missile, which theoretically could reach all of the United States.
Speaking at the parade, North Korea’s second-in-command, Choe Ryong Hae, blamed the U.S. for “creating a war situation,” the Associated Press reported.
“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” Choe said.
According to AP, “The parade, an elaborate display of the state’s immense power, involves tens of thousands of participants, from goose-stepping soldiers to crowds of civilians who have spent weeks perfecting their ability to wave plastic flowers in unison.”
If you’re still suffering from possible war anxiety, another sign to watch for is whether Vice President Mike Pence travels to Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday as part of a previously scheduled tour of Asia. Pence likely wouldn’t make the trip if any belligerent actions were pending.
But that still wouldn’t mean we’re completely in the clear, as North Korea could move forward with nuclear weapons testing at any moment, particularly when the entire world isn’t watching. Or Kim could show off the advancement of his weapons program on another holiday coming up April 25, marking the North Korean army’s birthday.