Exercise using 300 to 400 long-range artillery pieces was a clear reminder that North Korea could destroy large swaths of the South Korean capital

The North Korean army conducted a live-fire drill with massed artillery hours after a US submarine armed with cruise missiles docked at a South Korean base for naval exercises, further raising tensions in a volatile battle of nerves in north-east Asia.

Between 300 and 400 long-range artillery pieces, capable of hitting Seoul, took part in the drill on Tuesday, according to the Yonhap news agency quoting government officials.

The exercise, on the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army, was a clear reminder that North Korea could destroy large swaths of the South Korean capital.

However, the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, chose not to use the occasion to conduct the nations sixth nuclear test or launch a long-range missile actions which the Trump administration said would trigger an unspecified US response.

The North Korean salvoes coincided with US and South Korean military exercises on land and sea. The naval drills will include the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and an accompanying flotilla which is predicted to arrive in the area towards the end of the month after exercises with the Japanese navy, and an Ohio-class submarine, the USS Michigan, which docked at the South Korean port of Busan on Tuesday.

The US navy described the arrival of the Michigan, one of the worlds largest submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, as a routine deployment, but the arrival of such significant firepower coincides with Trump administration attempts to present a tougher stance towards North Korea than its predecessors. It has declared an end to the Obama administrations policy of strategic patience but has not specified what action it would take in response to another nuclear warhead or missile test.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/25/north-korea-live-fire-drill-us-submarine-south-korea