North Korea has used live artillery in a military exercise held close to the border. According to state media, Kim Jong Un witnessed the manoeuvres, which took place on Wednesday.

Tension between the peninsula states has increased in recent weeks, following fresh UN sanctions and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang, including a threat to launch nuclear attacks on Washington and Seoul.

north_korea_koreas_tension_2

The North Korean leader looks on as the military carry out drills

This week, North Korea “ended” the armistice signed at the end of the 1953 conflict with its neighbour, while military exercises carried out by South Korea and the US on the south side of the 39th parallel did little to dissipate the tension.

Reported by state news agency KCNA, Kim Jong-Un watched the drills approvingly, as artillery units hit pre-selected targets in a military test site.

On Saturday the North Korean foreign ministry released a statement claiming the UN restrictions would not only serve to strengthen its position "as a nuclear weapons state" but would increase its capability “a thousand times”.

The sanctions, voted on by the UN Security Council last week, target North Korea's ruling class, placing bans on countries exporting luxury good to the communist state, including jewellery, yachts and luxury cars, as well as tightening financial restrictions.

SEE ALSO:

North Korea Replaces Kim Jong-Il’s Staid Overcoat With 'Revolutionary' Anorak

North Korea Placed Under 'Martial Law'

North Korea Cannibalism Fears

North Korea To Conduct Third Nuclear Tests

North Korea Comes To Google Maps, Showing Prison Camps

BLOG: North Korea - Do You Hear the People Sing?

'North Korea Is Similar To The UK', Says Defector Seung-Chul

BLOG: North Korea - Provocation Patterns

On Saturday, Pyongyang officially rejected demands to end its nuclear weapons programme, adding that it would persevere with its aims to become a nuclear-armed state.

"The DPRK, as it did in the past, vehemently denounces and totally rejects the 'resolution on sanctions' against the DPRK, a product of the U.S. hostile policy toward it," a foreign office statement read.

“The world will clearly see what permanent position will reinforce as a nuclear weapons state and satellite launcher as a result of the US attitude of prodding the United Nations Security Council into cooking up the resolution”.

north_korea_koreas_tension_2

Live artillery was used for the tests, a move likely to increase tensions on the peninsula

Before the latest sanctions were unveiled, North Korea had threatened to carry out more atomic testing, following on from the latest and hitherto largest test blast in February.

Quick Poll

Are sanctions against North Korea counterproductive?

VOTE

Loading Slideshow...
  • In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 14, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong inspects a live ammunition firing drill by Jangjae Islet Defense Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defense Detachment deployed in the biggest hotspots in the southwestern sector of the front near the border with South Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)

  • In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 14, 2013 by the Korea News Service, a missile is fired during a live shell firing drill by Jangjae Islet Defense Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defense Detachment deployed in the biggest hotspots in the southwestern sector of the front near the border with South Korea. KCNA reported North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the drill. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)

  • In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 14, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a live ammunition firing drill by Jangjae Islet Defense Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defense Detachment deployed in the biggest hotspots in the southwestern sector of the front near the border with South Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)

  • In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 14, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches with a pair of field glasses live ammunition firing drills by Jangjae Islet Defense Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defense Detachment deployed in the biggest hotspots in the southwestern sector of the front near the border with South Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)