North Korea flexes military muscles ahead of US-South Korean joint exercises

Live fire exercises conducted near the South Korean border inspected by Kim Jong-un

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The Independent Online

North Korea has flexed its military muscles near the South Korean border ahead of joint exercises by the US and South Korea.

The DPRK’s military forces performed live fire artillery drills near the country’s sea border with its neighbour South Korea.

The exercise, which featured anti-ship rockets and artillery guns, was overseen by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, according to reports by the country’s state media on Saturday.

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People watch a TV news programme reporting on North Korea's artillery shells at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea,on Monday 14 July, 2014

The same media outlet also reports that Kim Jong-un has told the country’s Central Military Commission to be “fully ready to react to any form of war to be ignited by the enemy”.

The country’s state leadership did not disclose the location or exact time of the drills but revealed that they involved the Korean People’s Army’s 4th Corps.

 

North Korea’s leadership has condemned the US exercises as provocative, and offered a temporary moratorium on its nuclear programme if they were scrapped.

The US and South Korea say the war games are defensive and that they have no intentions of attacking the DPRK.

Retaliatory exercises by autarchic state are routine ahead of US-South Korean shows of force, which are a fairly regular occurrence.

A spokesperson for the South Korean defence ministry said the U.S. was planning to send more soldiers to the region than it did last year for the March "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle" exercises.

About 12,700 American personnel participated last year, the AP news agency says.

Last week Kim Jong-un unveiled a new haircut as part of an apparent image make-over.

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