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In photos: North Korea shows military might, holds large-scale artillery drill

  • Published at 05:48 pm April 26th, 2017
  • Last updated at 05:53 pm April 26th, 2017

North Korea has staged its largest ever military drill to mark the founding of the country's army, amid rising tensions with the US.

A statement from the South Korean military said the live-fire exercises were in the Wonsan region in the east of the country Tuesday afternoon, but gave no details on what kinds of weapons and military units took part in the drill.

On Wednesday, a North Korean government official, with knowledge of the event, said it was the largest ever drill conducted by the country's military and involved 300 artillery guns.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave the order to start the demonstration, where the large-caliber self-propelled guns lined up along the coast opened fire, state news agency KCNA reported. In a statement from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, South Korea said it was monitoring the situation and remained "firmly prepared." "Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military's movements," said the statement.

Military exercises such as the one undertaken by North Korea are not unprecedented and it was always likely there would have been a show of military force on Armed Forces Day. This year is the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korean army.

But the timing, as the US increases its military presence in the area, allows North Korea to remind its opponents that it could cause crippling damage with conventional artillery to highly populated areas in South Korea.

In a statement after the artillery drills were confirmed, the South Korean President's Office said an emergency meeting had been held to discuss the situation.

Separately, envoys from South Korea, Japan and the US have been meeting in Tokyo to discuss North Korea's refusal to abandon its nuclear program.

North Korea's drills coincided with military exercises held by US and South Korean navies in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier Tuesday, a US submarine made a port call in South Korea in what US officials said was a show of force amid mounting tensions in the region.