Escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea: What's going on?

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Tension on the Korean peninsula has increased since US President Donald Trump threatened to act against North Korea's continued missile tests and nuclear ambitions. Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them.

North Korea conducted two such tests previous year alone, which analysts say would have taken the country a step forward in gaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn't speak to the thousands of soldiers and civilians gathered at a massive parade honoring his late grandfather on Saturday, but his expanding array of ballistic missiles made an emphatic statement.

What does this all mean for a region that is already on edge?

In what military experts say appears to be a North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Then came the tanks, rockets and missiles, including what appeared to be several types of never-before-seen long-range missiles.

This year, however, the holiday also showcased what appeared to be long-range and submarine-based missiles: weapons the country has always been warned against possessing.

A United States Navy carrier strike group was headed towards the Korean Peninsula last week as America strengthens its defences against North Korea's elevating nuclear threats.

Along with goose-stepping soldiers and marching bands, some weapons analysts have said they believe new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) were among those on display - while acknowledging that the designs may be in their early stages.

Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the USA -based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, said the appearance of ICBMs enclosed in canister launchers suggested Pyongyang was working towards a "new concept" of ICBM.

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The nuclear-armed North is under United Nations sanctions over its weapons programmes, and has ambitions to build a rocket capable of delivering a warhead to the U.S. mainland -- something Trump has vowed "won't happen". It was the first time North Korea had shown the missiles, which have a range of more than 1,000 km (600 miles), at a military parade. Washington has voiced concerns over Pyongyang's nuclear tests, but the North says such launches are an act as deterrence against a potential invasion by the US or South Korea.

"He is doing the wrong thing", he said of Mr Kim.

An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

US retaliatory strikes earlier this month against Syria over a chemical weapons attack on civilians, coupled with Trump's dispatching of what he called an "armada" of ships to the region, touched off fears in South Korea that the United States was preparing for military action against the North.

Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, on Friday warned that conflict could break out "at any moment" and cautioned both sides to stay calm.

Following the huge bomb dropped by the U.S. in Afghanistan, China's Global Times - the Communist Party's official newspaper - said North Korea must have felt the shockwaves.

The strategy, as reported by the AP, will consist of increasing pressure on North Korea with the help of China.

It could "beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice", he said, and was "prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war".

Trump hopes China will play a role in de-escalating North Korea's development of its nuclear arsenal, and may be using a trade deal to secure China's support.

Another participant of the parade, O Song-rim, said: "We follow the direction set by our Marshal, under the leadership of our party, and all our people and army will always stick to our own way - that's what we showed the world with today's big event".

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