North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said he was ready for war with the United States as the nuclear-armed nation celebrated its ruling party’s 70th birthday Saturday with a spectacular, mass military parade. Tens of thousands of troops, followed by waves of tanks, armoured vehicles and ballistic missiles, goose-stepped their way through Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung Square in one of the largest ceremonial displays of military muscle the country had ever organised.

In his first public speech for three years, Kim struck a far more belligerent tone than in previous addresses, with a special message for the North’s traditional enemy. “Our party dauntlessly declares that our revolutionary armed forces are capable of fighting any kind of war provoked by the US,” the young leader proclaimed to rapturous applause from thousands of top military officers and party officials assembled below his viewing platform. The cheers were echoed by tens of thousands of flag and flower-waving participants gathered in the square named after Kim’s grandfather, over which a large banner slung from a gas-filled balloon read: “Long live the invincible Workers’ Party of Korea.” CONTINUE