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IN PHOTOS: The Korean conflict, a ticking time bomb

Last updated on: March 7, 2013 09:04 IST

The Korean conflict, a ticking time bomb

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South Korea's military has said that it will strike back at North Korea and target its top leadership if Pyongyang launches a threatened attack in response to what it says are "hostile" drills between the United States and South Korean forces.

The warning came a day after the North Korean People's Army threatened to attack the United States and its South Korean ally with "lighter and smaller nukes" -- an outburst provoked by the United Nations Security Council's consideration of tough new sanctions on Pyongyang as punishment for its February nuclear blast, the New York Times reported.

North Korea's typically strident rhetoric has grown bolder following its successful recent tests of a long-range rocket and nuclear device, especially in the past week as the United States and South Korea started their joint annual  military exercises.

We present some images relating to the deteriorating relations between North Korea and South Korea.

In this photograph, a visitor walks past North Korea's Russian made Scud-B ballistic missile (C in grey) and South Korea's US made Hawk surface-to-air missiles at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, on February 15, 2013.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February, in defiance of United Nations resolutions, pushing it further along the path of developing a workable long-range nuclear missile and drawing condemnation from the United States, Japan, Europe and the North's only major ally, China.

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Photographs: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
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An activist from an anti-North Korea civic group defaces a North Korea flag depicting North's leader Kim Jong-un (R) and his wife Ri Sol-ju (L) during a rally against North Korea's nuclear test near the US embassy in central Seoul on February 12, 2013.

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Photographs: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
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North Korean soldiers attend a rally celebrating the country's third nuclear test at the Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang, on February 14, 2013 in this picture taken and released by the North's official KCNA news agency.

Korean characters on a sign (C) read,"(We) celebrate ardently success of the third underground nuclear test!".

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Photographs: Reuters
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South Korean soldiers check military fences as they patrol near the demilitarised zone separating North Korea from South Korea, in Paju, north of Seoul, on February 12, 2013. 

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Photographs: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters
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Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards, the civilian forces of North Korea, train in an undisclosed location.

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Photographs: Reuters
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A South Korean navy submarine launches an indigenous cruise missile during a drill at an undisclosed location. Local media reported that defence ministry has deployed the cruise missiles which can hit all regions of North Korea, after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test.

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Photographs: South Korean Navy/Reuters
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A female North Korean soldier stands guard on the banks of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Houses destroyed by North Korean artillery shelling are pictured on Yeonpyeong island on November 25, 2010. North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians and setting houses ablaze in the heaviest attack on its neighbour since the Korean War ended in 1953.

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Photographs: Kyodo/Reuters
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Residents wear gas masks in an air raid bunker on Yeonpyeong Island, on December 20, 2010. South Korea held live firing drills in a disputed area despite threats of war from Pyongyang after an emergency UN Security Council meeting failed to agree on how to defuse the crisis.   

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Photographs: Newsis/Reuters
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) visits the Thrice Three-Revolution Red Flag Kamnamu (persimmon tree) Company under the Korean People's Army Unit 4302 in this undated picture.

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Photographs: Reuters
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South Korea's President Park Geun-hye leaves after speaking to the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, on March 4, 2013.

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Photographs: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters
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A South Korean soldier stands guard in a conference room in the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission Conference Building at the "Truce Village" of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone, which separates the two Koreas in Paju, north of Seoul, on February 27, 2013.  

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Photographs: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
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The North Korean shore, believed to be firing positions of artillery shells fired towards the South's island, is seen from South Korean island of Yeongpyeong, on November 25, 2010.

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Photographs: Kim Jae-Hwan/Reuters
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A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012.  

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Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters
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