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South Korea and the US will hold second joint military exercises Monday. This could further fuel tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Meanwhile, South Korean protesters held a massive rally to urge the government to stop the drills.
The war games will be held from August 16th to 26th. 30-thousand US soldiers and 56-thousand South Korean troops will take part. The latest exercises come after the two countries' first massive joint maneuvers, called "Invincible Spirit" last month.
Washington and Seoul say this month's exercises are "defensive". But, Pyongyang says the exercises are "the phase of practical actions aimed at a full-dressed military invasion."
Quoting its defense minister, the DPRK's state-run television network KRT says the South will endure severe punishment if the exercises go ahead.
News Reader, DPRK's State-Run Television, said, "As the reckless war maneuvers targeted against us have reached the limit, our army and people will deal a merciless counterblow to the US imperialists and the Lee Myung-bak group of traitors. Our military counter-action will be the severest punishment ever taken in the world."
In the South Korean capital of Seoul, more than three-thousand protesters gathered to denounce the military exercises. They are urging the government to stop escalating tensions on the peninsula.
Yoo Yoong0Jae, Anti-war Activisit, said, "They're saying the exercises are for defense, but they are obviously for attacking. We're strongly urging the government to stop the war practice."
The annual exercises come a week after Seoul completed its own drills near a tense maritime border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.
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