North Korea on Monday described the military exercises conducted by the United States and South Korea last week as a “dangerous war drill of very high aggressive nature” and said that it was an “open provocation” to escalate tensions in the Korean Peninsula, reported the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

“Intolerable and unpardonable are all the recent challenging moves of the US and South Korea staging military drills for aggression on a large scale,” said General Staff of the Korean People’s Army.

The statement came in response to the military exercises conducted by South Korea and the United States between October 31 and November 5. Pyongyang has claimed that the exercises are a rehearsal for an invasion.

In response to the drills, North Korea said on Monday that it conducted test-firing of its missiles between November 2 and November 5. It said that the tests were successful.

“Through the operations, the armed forces of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] fully responded to the enemy’s combined air drill, increased its self-confidence in neutralizing the “theory of superiority” of the enemy air force, perfectly confirmed the confident military posture and capability of the KPA [Korean People’s Army] and further hardened its absolute corresponding will,” the statement said.

The North Korean military also said it fired two strategic cruise missiles on November 2 towards the waters off South Korea’s southeastern coastal city of Ulsan, which houses a nuclear power plant. However, South Korean officials denied the claim and said that they tracked no missiles near the city, reported Reuters.

Analysts told the news agency that some of the photos released by North Korean state media on the test-fires seemed to be recycled from launches earlier in the year.

On November 2, one of the short-range ballistic missiles fired by Pyongyang had crossed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between South Korea and North Korea. The South Korean military had said that the missile landed in waters just 57 kilometers east of the mainland.

This had prompted South Korea to issue raid alerts for the Ulleungdo island, advising residents to evacuate to the nearest underground shelter. Seoul had retaliated with three air-to-ground missiles into the sea across the Northern Limit Line.

The next day’s test-firing included an intercontinental ballistic missile. Reports said that its launch had failed. The intercontinental ballistic missiles are North Korea’s longest-range weapons and are designed to carry a nuclear warhead to the other side of the planet.

Amid the heightened tensions, India had told the United Nations on November 5 that it supports denuclearisation in the Korean peninsula, asserting that it was in the “collective interest”.