Donia Al watanNorth Korea is preparing to detonate a nuclear bomb to coincide with its 'Day of the Sun' national day on Saturday amid mounting tensions with President Trump, US officials fear.
The regime warned foreign journalists to prepare for a 'big event' on Thursday and is thought to have put a nuclear device in a tunnel at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.
Tensions in the region are running high after President Trump sent a US Navy strike group steaming toward the western Pacific in a show of force and North Korea warned of a nuclear attack at any sign of America aggression.
North Korea's most important national day is on Saturday April 15 when North Korea commemorates birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung. Ahead of the event, Kim Jong-un yesterday oversaw a commando operation in which special forces dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'.
It comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today underscored fears about possible threats from North Korea, telling parliament in Tokyo that Pyongyang could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.
Meanwhile, China today said it would step up its protection of North Korea should the isolated state halt its nuclear programme.
There were no indications North Korea's 'big' event on Thursday was directly linked to tensions in the region over the isolated state's nuclear weapons program.
Kim Jong-un today made a public appearance in Pyongyang, to open a prestige housing project featuring residential tower blocks of various shapes - round, square and octagonal - with the tallest proclaimed as 70 storeys, or 234 metres, high, and including nearly 5,000 apartments in total.
Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th anniversary of 'Day of the Sun'.
Officials gave no details as to the nature of the event or where it would take place, and similar announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key set pieces.
In 2016, for example, foreign journalists underwent hours of investigation by North Korean officials ahead of what turned out to be a pop concert to mark the finale of a ruling Workers' Party congress.
Washington-based 38 North, who monitors North Korea, has reported 'unusually high levels of activity' at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site over the past four weeks.
New satellite imagery from April 2 showed there was more activity around the North Portal, which is the tunnel where the four most recent nuclear tests have taken place.
Today it was revealed that Kim Jong-Un had overseen a special forces commando operation, watching from an observation post as special forces dropped from light transport planes 'like hail' and 'mercilessly blew up enemy targets'.
With a broad smile on his face, Kim praised his troops for their precision, saying 'the bullets seemed to have their own eyes', KCNA said, without identifying when the operation was held.
The Rodong Sinmun - the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party - carried several photos from the contest including one of Kim watching the troops parachuting down from jets into an open field. Another showed him grinning from ear-to-ear as he walked by cheering soldiers.