Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.
Thousands of troops stood at attention under a blue autumn sky in Pyongyang's main Kim Il Sung Square, named after Kim Jong Un's grandfather and the founder of the nation, as Kim, appearing relaxed and confident, made his speech, leaning heavily on the lectern.
The young leader was accompanied by senior Chinese Communist Party official Liu Yunshan, with whom he was seen speaking throughout the event and occasionally sharing laughs, and flanked by senior North Korean party and military officials.
"The party's revolutionary armament means we are ready to fight any kind of war waged by the U.S. imperialists," Kim said in a speech strikingly more forceful than previous public comments, praising the feats of past leaders and the ruling party.
While the White House declined to comment, the Pentagon on Saturday called on Pyongyang to refrain from provocative behavior and said it was closely monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
"We are in close contact with our Republic of Korea allies and remain committed to the defense of the ROK," Pentagon spokesman Commander Bill Urban said, using to South Korea's official name. "Recent provocative statements heighten tensions, and we call on Pyongyang to refrain from actions and rhetoric that threaten regional peace and security."