South Korea fired the shots at the border earlier this week after detecting an object flying across from North Korea. Seoul later identified it as balloons carrying propaganda leaflets.
The North's General Staff today dismissed Seoul's claim as fabrication and accused South Korea of provocation and actually firing machine gun rounds at a “flock of birds”.
The latest standoff comes just after it emerged that Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that he sent two nuclear nuclear submarines towards the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has carried out two ballistic missile tests this month as Kim Jong-un’s regime tries to develop nuclear weapons capable of striking America.
Saturday May 27
8.40am BST: North Korea has threatened to wipe the US “off the face of the earth” in a propaganda news article.
Kim Jong-un’s despot regime mocked Donald Trump, warning “don’t dream, silly dream”, and saying that the US should be punished for its “sly trick” of using “spies” to infiltrate Pyongyang.
The article continued: “The US is, indeed, a den of evils that should be wiped off the face of the earth as early as possible as it is openly pursuing the policy of state-sponsored terrorism by unhesitatingly resorting to hideous provocation, far from learning a lesson from the failed DPRK policy of its predecessors.
“The US should understand that its desperate intelligence operation against the DPRK will only bring destruction to it.
“The foolhardy operations against the supreme leadership of the DPRK and its strategic facilities only bring to light the wretched plight of the US which has sustained disgraceful defeats only in the showdown with the DPRK.”
2am BST: The US has announced it will attempt the first ever intercept of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB) as North Korea continues to improve its military capability.
The Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) interceptor will be test fired next Tuesday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Friday May 26
20.24pm BST: Donald Trump issued a stern warning to Kim Jong-un as he agreed with the Japanese Prime Minister to expand sanctions on North Korea.
Speaking after meeting with Shinzo Abe, the leader said: “We’ll be discussing many things including of course North Korea, which is very much on our minds.
7.35pm BST: A North Korean defector spoke to NPR, to recall the hard life within the hermit communist state.
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Lee So-yeon joined the North Korean Army in 1992 and served mostly behind a desk for almost a decade.
"All of us soldiers had to march," she said. "It unified us, and showed off our strength to the outside world."
Ms Lee also said she witnessed instances of sexual abuse and violence against female soldiers during her time in the army.
She finally managed to escape in 2008, after being imprisoned and tortured for trying to sneak across the border.
"I was shocked by freedom – that I didn't need permission to do anything,” she recalled. "I couldn't believe there was hot water, hairdryers!
“I could vote for whomever I wanted. And all the food!"
6pm BST: British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at a G7 press conference where she underlined her commitment to peacefully resolving tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
“The leaders were united in their condemnation of North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles tests,” Ms May said.
“We agree to continue to increase pressure on Pyongyang as we work to secure a peaceful resolution in the region.”
5.05pm BST: The North Korean masterminds behind the regime’s rocket launches have been revealed to the West.
They are Ri Pyong-chol, a former air force general, Kim Jong-sik, a veteran rocket scientist, and Jang Chang-ha, the head of a weapons development and procurement centre.
Photographed on various occasions with Kim Jong-un, the three men often exchange smiles and hugs with their beloved leader.
"Rather than going through bureaucrats, Kim Jong Un is keeping these technocrats right by his side, so that he can contact them directly and urge them to move fast,” said An Chan-il, a former North Korean military officer.
"It reflects his urgency about missile development.”
3.55pm BST: President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to extend sanctions against North Korea.
The two leaders are attending the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, today and had a one-on-one meeting.
"President Trump and Prime Minister Abe agreed their teams would cooperate to enhance sanctions on North Korea, including by identifying and sanctioning entities that support North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs," the White House said.
"They also agreed to further strengthen the alliance between the United States and Japan, to further each country's capability to deter and defend against threats from North Korea," the statement added.
2.45pm BST: Russia and China have agreed that the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal should not be an excuse to mount anti-missile systems in the Korean Peninsula.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of the issue today, referring to the US THAAD system installed in South Korea.
Both Russia and China are in favour of dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal, but are unhappy with the measures taken by the US.
Revealed: Kim Jong-un's nuclear cronies
Fri, May 26, 2017
After North Korea's recent series of ballistic missile test, dictator Kim Jong-un is often photographed with the same three men
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Kim Jong-un reacts during the long-range Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) strategic ballistic rocket test launch with Ri Pyong Chol (2nd L), Kim Jong Sik (C) and Jang Chang Ha (2nd R)
2.10pm: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is attending the G7 summit, said he will bring up the North Korean problem during the discussions.
"The issue of North Korea is a grave threat not only to East Asia but also to the world," Mr Abe told reporters before leaving Tokyo.
1.35pm BST: US President Donald has arrived in Taormina, Italy, for the G7 summit.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.
“Getting ready to engage G7 leaders on many issues including economic growth, terrorism, and security.”
White press Secretary Sean Spicer said the President will “pull aside” UK Prime Minister Theresa May for a chat this afternoon.
1pm BST: China is realising it is running out if time to rein in North Korea’s nuclear programme and is open to further sanctions against Pyongyang, claims a member of the US Department of State.
Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary for east Asian and Pacific affairs, told press in Beijing that China understood the US’ view of North Korea as an urgent "time-limited problem set".
"So they know now that they don't have, I think, as much time to try to bring the North Koreans to the table to get their calculus changed and get them to the negotiating table," she said. "And I think that has lent some urgency to their measures."
Noon BST: Donald Trump told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that North Korea is a “big problem, but assured him that the issues would be resolved.
"It is very much on our minds… It's a big problem, it's a world problem and it will be solved. At some point it will be solved. You can bet on that," Trump said ahead of the G7 summit.
North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is a growing concern and experts believe Kim Jog-un could have missiles capable of hitting America sometime after 2020.
8.00am BST: Donald Trump has a “four-point plan” for North Korea that does not include a military option, a South Korean lawmaker has told Seoul’s Yonhap news agency.
The US President has reportedly signed a report which calls for a four-pronged attack: not recognising North Korea as a nuclear state, imposing every possible sanction and pressure, not seeking a regime change and resolving the problem with dialogue.
Meanwhile, China has tightened security controls at its border with North Korea as part of UN sanctions designed to block Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton told reporters in Beijing that China has increased border and customs inspections and has beefed up policing on the border.
4am BST: Experts claim that the masterminds behind Kim Jong-un's missile programme are: former air force general Ri Pyong Chol, veteran rocket scientist Kim Jong Sik, and Jang Chang Ha, the head of a North Korean weapons development and procurement centre.
1am BST: The US state of Hawaii have produced a “Plan of Action and Milestones” for a new ballistic missile defence initiative in response to North Korea’s threats.
A Hawaiian state official described nuclear contingency plans as “formidable and critical to the survival of our 1.4 million residents and visitors in the unlikely event of a nuclear detonation”.
The plans include “reviewing existing procedures for mass casualty and fatality management”, in addition to “conducting in-service training for key staff regarding weapons effects”.
12 am BST: Republican and Democratic lawmakers have intorduced a bill to US congress that seeks to ban Americans from travelling to North Korea as tourists.
Democrat Adam Schiff and Republican Joe Wilson presented the North Korea Travel Control Act on Thursday in response to the detention of at least 17 Americans in North Korea in the past decade.
They claim North Korea has a record of using detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.
North Korea tests long range missile as nuclear programme continues
Mon, May 22, 2017
North Korea has successfully launched a ground-to-ground missile 500km towards the Sea of Japan, as tensions on the Korean peninsular reach new heights.
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The ground-to-ground medium-to-long range ballistic missile
Thursday May 25
7.50pm BST: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is making an official visit to Russia on Thursday and Friday, to meet with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
North Korean tensions are expected to be the major topic of conversation, as both countries maintain an agenda on the regime’s nuclear capabilities.
This news comes two months after China stopped its imports of coal from North Korea – Kim Jong-un’s major source of income.
Coal exports make up 40 percent of the hermit states total exports, mostly to China.
6.50pm BST: A US lawmaker submitted a bill today which would put a strict ban on travel and tourism to North Korea.
The "North Korea Travel Control Act" proposed by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff and Republican Joe Wilson would block US tourists from visiting the hermit state.
Other tourists would have to obtain permission through a US Treasury licensing system, Chnnel News Asia reports.
"Tourist travel to North Korea does nothing but provide funds to a tyrannical regime – that will in turn be used to develop weapons to threaten the United States and our allies," Mr Wilson said in a statement.
"Worse, the regime has routinely imprisoned innocent foreign civilians and used them as bargaining chips to gain credibility with the West. We should not enable them any longer," he added.
6.15pm BST: A former chief of the US’ National Intelligence believes it would be unwise of Donald Trump to attack North Korea.
Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence, told a group of Harvard students there is no easy way to disable Kim Jong-un’s nuclear arsenal.
“If I were to run the national intelligence again and the president comes to me and says, ‘Here is General [Jim] Mattis’ strike plan and can you ensure me that this will take out of all the North Korea nuclear capabilities?’ – it won’t be easy to say yes,” Mr Blair said, according to the South China morning Post.
These views were mirrored by Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis who recently admitted that a fight with the communist regime would be a tragedy on an “unbelievable scale”.
Donald Trump gave a speech at a NATO summit
4.20pm BST: Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the fight against terrorism in the wake of the Manchester bombing.
Speaking at the NATO summit, Mr Trump said the US and its allies would drive out militants and encouraged all nations to do the same.
"We will never waiver in our determination to defeat terrorism and achieve lasting security, prosperity and peace," Mr Trump said, after unveiling a September 11 memorial.
"Terrorism must be stopped or … the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever," he added.
3.15pm BST: President Trump is attending a NATO summit today. Mr Trump has criticised most of his NATO allies for not contributing enough to defence spending.
"I am happy that all NATO member states will underline that NATO is the central pillar of our common security, that we feel united in solidarity for our common security," Angela Merkel said ahead of the summit.
12.45pm BST: China has urged Japan to act cautiously after authorities in Tokyo said they were collaborating with the US on new missile defence radars.
Speaking at a press briefing, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said the issue of anti-missile defences was a matter of trust.
"Especially because of historical reasons, relevant moves by Japan in the military and security field have always attracted close attention from its Asian neighbours and the international community," Mr Ren said.
"Japan should act cautiously on the anti-missile issue," he added.
2:30am BST: A US Navy warship has sailed within just 12 miles of an artificial island built up by China. The news come after the US had said it would be allying with the nation over the threat of North Korea.
An international expert claimed the US President is only using his feud with North Korea to launch a surprise attack on China.
James Petras said: "Washington’s strategy is designed to contain and influence China if possible, and in extreme basis for launching a nuclear attack on China.
“I think the pretext of attacking North Korea is simply an excuse to build up US military capabilities for a nuclear attack.”
Kim Jong-un's missile tests are causing tension around the world
Wednesday May 24
10pm BST: China is losing patience with North Korea and is concerned Kim Jong-un will hinder their rise to superpower status.
Harvard University history professor Odd Arne Westad said “alarm bells” were ringing in Beijing due to the increasingly erratic nature of there hermit state.
He said: “Great powers, particularly rising great powers, cannot easily tolerate friends and allies getting in the way of larger pictures.
“This is what I think has changed with regard to the relations.”
Prof Westad said relations had never been “as bad as they are today – and they seem to be getting worse very quickly”.
9.30pm BST: A leaked transcript of a call between Donald Trump and Filipino leader Rodriguez Duterte reveals the US President described Kim Jong-un as a "madman with nuclear weapons" who could not be let on the loose.
Mr Trump allegedly told Mr Duterte in the April 29 call that the US would "take care of North Korea," and had a lot of firepower in the region, although it did not want to use it.
A senior US official said the Trump administration did not dispute the accuracy of the transcript and declined to comment further.
Mr Trump requested Mr Duterte's help in pressing China – North Korea's neighbour and only major ally – on the need for it to help rein in the North Koean leader.
He said: ”We can't let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20, but we don't want to use it."
6.46pm BST: Donald Trump’s decision to send thousands of troops to Afghanistan has been delayed by a heated debate in the White House.
As Mr Trump arrives at the NATO summit tomorrow, his administration is split on the war in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.
Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff, said: “The questions they have to ask are: Is that additional force decisive? Are we going to win? Can we force a political settlement?”
Latest images from North Korea: Kim Jong-un v Donald Trump
Mon, May 15, 2017
Photographs depict how tensions have escalated between North Korea and the United States
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An unidentified rocket, reported to be a Hwasong-type missile similar to the one used in a May 14, 2017 test launch, at a military parade in Pyongyang
South Korea reportedly shot down North Korean drones over the border
5.20pm BST: President Donald Trump has been welcomed in the Vatican by Pope Francis, in the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.
A statement issued by the Vatican said Mr Trump and the Pope discussed issues around healthcare, education and the “promotion of peace in the world”.
Following the meeting, Mr Trump tweeted: “Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”
Pope Francis reportely gifted Mr Trump with a copy of his 2015 encyclical on climate change.
“He is something,” Mr Trump remarked.
3.58pm BST: North Korea’s weapon arsenal could contain up to 400 drones carrying chemical weapons a regime defector has claimed.
Jinmyeong Han who defected from the communist state in 2015, said the drones are being kept underground to avoid detection.
He said: “I was surprised to see that people from the Korean Workers' Party came and mounted something that appeared to be biological and chemical weapons on the drones.
“They conducted an experiment to spray chemical or biological agents over the mountains and fields nearby. I went to the mountain afterward to check and found all animals dead, although plants survived.”
2.50pm BST: China has warned today that no one had the right to bring “chaos” to the Korean Peninsula, a day after it called for UN sanction agains the North Korean regime.
"No matter which party it is, no one has the right to bring war and chaos upon the peninsula," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters.
Mr Yi further said that anyone who did that would bear the “historical responsibility”.
The US has been trying to persuade China to help rein in Pyongyang, as Kim Jong-un continues to defy the UN resolutions.
Inside North Korea: The pictures Kim Jong-un doesn't want you to see
Thu, May 18, 2017
Photographer Eric Lafforgue ventured to North Korea six times. Thanks to digital memory cards, he was able to save photos that was forbidden to take inside the segregated state
Eric Lafforgue/Exclusivepix Medi
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Taking pictures in the DMZ is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you
12.18pm BST: President Donald Trump told the Philippine President he has sent two nuclear submarines to North Korea, the New York Times has said.
Mr Trump said a “major, major conflict” with Kim Jong-un was possible but he wanted to resolve the conflict diplomatically.
"We have two submarines – the best in the world,” Mr Trump said, according to the newspaper
“We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all.”
The report is based on a Philippine transcript of a call between Mr Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte.
6.15am BST: North Korea has been caught flying balloon packages of propaganda across the border, the South’s defence ministry has said.
The Ministry of National Defence said there were actually around 10 flying objects detected close the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and several of them crossed it.
The ministry's spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said: ”Judging from the results of an analysis, (we) believe there is a low possibility that the objects were drones.”
He added that they are presumed to have been balloons carrying propaganda leaflets from the North.