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Seoul — South Korean and US forces began computer-simulated military exercises on Monday amid tension over North Korea’s weapons programmes, while a report the country has earned millions of dollars in exports is likely to raise doubt about the effect of sanctions.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the joint drills, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, were purely defensive and did not aim to increase tension on the peninsula, but North Korea denounced the exercises as preparation for war.
"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," Moon told cabinet ministers.
"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 joint US-South Korean exercises will last until August 31 and involve computer simulations designed to prepare for war with a nuclear-capable North Korea....
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