Kim Jong-un: North Korean leader inspects military drills and missile launches in pictures released by Pyongyang

'If they destroy even a blade of grass in our inviolable territory, I will strike the hordes of the puppet military with a deadly baptism of fire'

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The Independent Online

Kim Jong-un can be seen inspecting a missile launch and military exercises in a new set of images released by North Korea.

Taken at undisclosed locations and on unknown dates but believed to be recent, the images show the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea observing the launch of a missile.

Released by state-controlled newspaper Rodung Sinmun, the photographs are said to picture a "powerful nuclear deterrent... so as to get ready to make nuclear strikes at the enemies from anywhere on the ground, in the air, at sea and underwater".

It comes after the nation was condemned by the UN Security Council for launching a medium-range ballistic missile 500 miles off its coast. A week prior to that launch, North Korea also fired short-range ballistic devices into the sea. 

In response to those launches, the UN has imposed its toughest sanctions yet on the pariah nation, including mandatory searches of cargo entering and leaving the country and a total ban on the movement of small arms across the North Korean border.

The USA and South Korea are also currently running an annual series of military manouevres, which Pyongyang views as preparations for an imminent invasion. A total of 17,000 American and 300,000 South Korean soldiers are carrying out over a month of military exercises, putting on a significant show of force as tensions heighten in the region.

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In response, North Korea has begun a military sabre-rattling of its own. The new pictures above show the Korean People's Army tank competition.

Speaking to the state-controlled news source, 'Supreme Leader' Kim Jong-un said he was "pleased to witness the sky-high spirit of the KPA," and noted that "the tank represents the spirit".

Not pictured are further exercises conducted at the coast, involving simulated attacks from sea and defences against landing craft.

Those drills involved warships, air cover, artillery and snipers, and are said to be a direct response to the joint US-South Korea Operation Foal Eagle.

Decrying the military exercises being performed by his southern neighbours, Mr Kim said: "If they destroy even a single tree or a blade of grass in our inviolable territory, I will strike... the hordes of the puppet military with a deadly baptism of fire so that they may not exist any longer."