North Korea delivered a fresh round of rhetoric today with claims it had powerful striking means on standby for a missile launch, while Seoul and Washington speculated that the country is preparing to test a medium-range missile during upcoming national celebrations.
On the streets of Pyongyang, meanwhile, North Koreans celebrated the anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un's appointment to the country's top party post - one in a slew of titles collected a year ago in the months after father Kim Jong Il's death.
In the capital of neighboring South Korea, the country's point person on relations with the North, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae, urged Pyongyang to cool down, engage in dialogue and reverse its decision to suspend operations of a joint industrial park just north of their shared border.
The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a nonmilitary agency that deals with relations with South Korea, said its striking means have been put on standby for a launch and the coordinates of targets put into the warheads.
The statement was the latest in a torrent of warlike threats seen outside Pyongyang as an effort to raise fears and pressure Seoul and Washington into changing their North Korea policy.