SEOUL, (Pakistan Point News - APP -22nd Augst,2016) - Tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops began a military exercise simulating an all-out North Korean attack Monday, as Pyongyang threatened a pre-emptive strike on forces participating in the drill. The two-week annual Ulchi Freedom exercise is largely computer-simulated, but still involves 50,000 Korean and 30,000 US soldiers. The drill always triggers a spike in tensions on the divided Korean peninsula, and this year it coincides with particularly volatile cross-border relations following a series of high-profile defections.
On Sunday, the Unification Ministry in Seoul urged all citizens to be on guard against "North Korean terror threats" and warned of possible assassination attempts on defectors and anti-Pyongyang activists in the South. Ulchi Freedom plays out a full-scale invasion scenario by nuclear-armed North Korea and both Seoul and Washington insist it remains purely defensive in nature.