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Provocation? North Korean flag used in US-South Korea war games

Lee Jin-Man / AP

Smoke rises from explosions near the North Korean flag during South Korea-U.S. joint military live-fire drills at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, South Korea, near the border with the North Korea. Photo taken June 19, 2012 and made available on June 22.

Lee Jin-Man / AP

A South Korean Air Forces' KF-16 fighter drops bombs during the exercise. Photo taken June 19, 2012 and made available on June 22.

The Associated Press reports — A huge North Korean flag disappeared behind a tower of flames and thick black smoke as South Korean fighter jets and U.S. attack helicopters fired rockets in the allies' biggest joint live-fire drills since the Korean War.

Live-fire drills by the allies are fairly routine, but using the North’s national flag as part of target practice is unusual — and will be seen as a provocation by Pyongyang, which has previously threatened war for what it called South Korean insults to the country’s national symbols and leadership. Read the full story.

YNA via EPA

South Korean and U.S. tanks 'advance on an enemy stronghold' while removing land mines in a joint firepower combat drill in Pocheon on June 22, 2012. The exercise, the biggest-ever in scale, was conducted on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, which falls on June 25.

Lee Jin-Man / AP

A South Korean Air Force E-737 Peace-Eye aircraft fires flare shells. Photo taken June 19, 2012 and made available on June 22.

Jeon Heon-Kyun / EPA

A South Korean K1A1 tank fires on June 22, 2012.

Lee Jin-Man / AP

South Korean Special Army soldiers parachute from a CN-235 transport plane. Photo taken June 19, 2012 and made available on June 22.