North Korea conducts artillery fire drill after US-South joint exercise
North Korea has conducted an artillery fire drill to bolster its defense capabilities days after Washington and Seoul kicked off their latest joint military aerial exercise.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday that mechanized troops of the country had conducted an "artillery fire competition" the previous day.
It added that the competition was held to see how well the mechanized troops carried out the exercises with the aim of increasing their mobile artillery combat capabilities.
Since September, North Korea has test-launched a series of newly developed missiles, including nuclear-capable weapons.
The country is under harsh UN sanctions for its missile and nuclear activities.
On Monday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that despite Pyongyang’s repeated objections to Seoul and Washington, the US and South Korean military forces began a five-day joint air defense exercise that involved some 200 aircraft.
North Korea regards the South's joint exercises with American forces as a rehearsal for invasion and insists that the North's efforts are defensive in nature.
Pyongyang says countries criticizing the North for its defensive military drills apply "double standards."
With dialog at a standstill, US officials have expressed a willingness to meet with their North Korean counterparts in order to resume denuclearization talks.
Pyongyang, however, has dismissed the US offer of dialog as a "petty trick," accusing Washington of pursuing a hostile policy toward North Korea.