NHK reported that the United States and South Korea have begun their regular joint military exercises amid strong protests by North Korea. According to South Korean military officials, the joint exercises kicked off on Monday morning and will continue through Aug. 26. The drills, which are based on the scenario of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, are expected to involve computer simulations instead of live-fire training.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency speculated that the ROK military used a restrained tone in its announcement of the start of the drills mainly due to strong protests from Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, demanded in a statement released earlier this month that the United States and South Korea cancel the joint exercises regardless of their scale or form. Washington and Seoul are closely watching moves by North Korea, as South Korean media have warned of the possibility of Pyongyang taking steps against the U.S.-ROK drills.