North Korea has pledged to give a "merciless retaliatory response" after claiming that a drone belonging to Seoul violated its territorial airspace. Pyongyang called the incident a "grave military provocation".

Tensions in the Korean peninsula have escalated in recent months with the reclusive North Korean regime repeatedly defying UN regulations by boosting its weapons programme. Amid the never-ending war of words between the North and its adversaries – namely the US, South Korea and Japan – Kim Jong-un's hermit kingdom has test-fired several missiles recently and is also suspected to be gearing up for a nuclear detonation.

In the middle of such a volatile situation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) carried a dispatch accusing South Korea of violating Pyongyang's airspace on Friday, 26 May.

The report said the surveillance drone, Heron, penetrated the border and flew in North Korea's airspace at least four times between 7.46am and 8.40pm local time. Seoul has not yet responded to the allegations.

Only recently, the South Korean military fired dozens of warning shots against an unspecified object emerging from North Korea suspecting it to be a drone. However, it later turned out to be propaganda balloons.