North Korean state television showed footage of newscasts from other countries depicting the trajectory a North Korean missile launch might take.
It also showed preparations for the Kim Il-Sung birthday festivities, including floral tributes, and a stadium of thousands of schoolchildren of the Korean Children’s Union, each wearing a red scarf and saluting and marching in unison.
Speculation has mounted of an impending medium-range missile test launch in the North after reports in South Korea and the United States that as many as five medium-range missiles have been moved into position on the country’s east coast.
Officials in both countries believe the North is preparing to test-launch a Musudan missile, whose range of 3,500 km (2,100 miles) or more would put Japan within striking distance and may threaten the island of Guam, which houses U.S. military bases.
The North has been angry about annual military drills between U.S. and South Korean forces, describing them as a “hostile” act. The United States dispatched B52 and B2 stealth bombers from their bases to take part.
Hours before Kerry’s arrival, a U.S. lawmaker quoted a report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, one of the 17 bodies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, as saying it had “moderate confidence” that North Korea had developed a nuclear bomb that could be fitted on a ballistic missile.
But Kerry poured cold water on the report said it was “inaccurate to suggest that the DPRK has fully tested, developed capabilities” as set down in the document.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry said it did not believe North Korea could mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.