South Korea has rejected demands from North Korea to call off military drills with the United States, which Pyongyang routinely calls provocative rehearsals for invasion.
Pyongyang's state media warned Thursday of what they called "unimaginable calamities and disasters" if the upcoming exercises, called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, proceed as scheduled late next month.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said Friday that the drills are defensive in nature, like those conducted by all sovereign states.
South Korea's Defense Ministry dismissed the threats on Thursday. A spokesman warned that Seoul will "mercilessly and decisively punish" Pyongyang in the event of a provocation.
The annual military drills are a routine source of tension between the two longtime foes.