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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

North Korea threatens to 'turn Seoul into ashes'

Iran Press TV

Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:23AM

North Korea has staged a live-fire military exercise involving a simulated strike on the residence of South Korean President Park Geun-hye two days after warning her of a "miserable end."

"Artillery shells flew like lightning and intensely and fiercely struck targets simulating Cheong Wa Dae and rebel governing bodies in Seoul," the North's official KCNA news agency reported on Friday, referring to Park's executive office, known as the Blue House in English.

The North Korean leader ordered and oversaw the drill, the largest-ever of its type, which involved "hundreds of different types" of long-range artillery and was staged to challenge the operation by "the gangster US and Park Geun-hye forces," according to the KCNA report.

"If the enemies challenge us... our artillery forces' merciless retaliating blow will turn Seoul into rubble and ashes," the news agency quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as saying.

The long-range artillery drill, attended by Kim, was staged in response to the Foal Eagle military exercises, the largest ever US-South Korea military drills that began on March 7 and will continue till April. The large-scale annual war games involve more than 17,000 US and 300,000 South Korean troops, with warships and aircraft carrying out live-fire drills in the region.

Pyongyang has responded to the drills, which it regards as provocative, with threats of nuclear strikes against both Seoul and Washington.

The development comes a day after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine that could boost the country's ballistic missile capabilities.

On Wednesday, the North vowed to wage a "retaliatory battle of justice" to bring a "miserable end" for Park and her US allies.

Seoul has described Pyongyang's reactions as a "sense of crisis" in the North, and has warned that Kim is "walking the path of self-destruction."

Relations between North and South Korea have been turbulent for years. The two countries fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since.

Tensions have escalated further recently following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January and the start of the joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul.

The US says Pyongyang is after developing long-range missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads and can reach the US, while North Korea says its adversaries, including the US, seek to bring the regime in Pyongyang down, and it is thus strengthening itself against hostile countries.

North Korea has already been targeted with international sanctions over its nuclear and missile activities.

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