N. Korea gears up to celebrate birthday of country's founder

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With the US Navy deployed near the Korean Peninsula, and experts speculating that Pyongyang was preparing another nuclear test, the tensions have been rising in recent days.

North Korea, on the other hand, only seems to be strengthening its commitment to nuclear development.

However, North Korea on Saturday warned that it is "prepared" to respond to any nuclear attack in kind, AFP reported.

In comments to The Associated Press, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said the USA was becoming "more vicious and more aggressive" under Trump and warned the president against provoking North Korea.

"That is something that our headquarters decides", he said in Pyongyang, which is now gearing up for a major holiday - and possibly a big military parade - toay.

North Korea responded by warning of a "merciless retaliatory strike" if the US acts first.

Pyongyang also warned Washington on Saturday to end its "military hysteria" or face retaliation as a USA aircraft carrier strike group headed towards the region.

And Hang Song Ryol warned that if the USA showed any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang would be ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own.

The sharp language came after President Donald Trump said that the "problem" of North Korea "will be taken care of", as speculation mounts that the reclusive state could be preparing another nuclear or missile test.

North Korean soldiers take part in a parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, Saturday, April 15, 2017.

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The North's military also railed against the deployment of the Carl Vinson.

North Korea in February claimed that it successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface "medium long-range ballistic missile" known as the Pukkuksong-2, which is potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

North Korean soldiers paraded large rockets covered by canisters that were rolled out in two different types of transporter erector launcher trucks, or TELs.

"Ryomyong Street is an accomplishment that the North wants to promote on the economic front", an official at Seoul's unification ministry, told South Korean Yonhap news.

If the Korean missiles actually work, and have a similar range to the Chinese missile, they could hit the continental US.

Mr Han said Mr Trump's "aggressive words" were being seen as a threat. Cold launches would also allow the missiles to be fired from silos. He said North Korea's nuclear program is non-negotiable.

The parade may also feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"However, North Korea has a habit of showing off new concepts in parades before they ever test or launch them", Hanham said.

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

Adding to Chinese unease, President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the United States was not afraid of acting alone on North Korea.