US, S. Korea starting computer-simulated exercises amid N. Korean threat

US, S. Korea starting computer-simulated exercises amid N. Korean threat
© KCNA via Getty Images

The U.S. and South Korea are beginning computer-simulated military exercises as tensions run high with North Korea, Reuters reported.

"There is no intent at all to heighten military tension on the Korean peninsula as these drills are held annually and are of a defensive nature," South Korean President Moon Jae-in said about the joint drills.

"North Korea should not exaggerate our efforts to keep peace nor should they engage in provocations that would worsen the situation, using (the exercise) as an excuse." 

The drills will last until Aug. 31.

The U.S. referred to the drills as "defensive in nature."

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"It's to prepare if something big were to occur and we needed to protect [the Republic of Korea]," said Michelle Thomas, a U.S. military spokeswoman.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing that the drills are "not beneficial to easing current tensions or efforts by all sides to promote talks."

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have increased in recent weeks amid a series of missile tests by Pyongyang.

President Trump earlier this month intensified his rhetoric on North Korea, saying the country would face "fire and fury" if it continued to threaten the U.S.  

Trump on Monday night plans to address the nation on his plans for Afghanistan. The White House suggested he will also talk about North Korea.