Others advocate the overthrow of the Kim Jong-un leadership, a popular insurgency, the dismantlement of North Korean nuclear and missile facilities, and the placement of tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea. "This is a firm agreement between South Korea and the U.S. People can be assured and trust that there will be no war".
Pyongyang conducted two tests of its long-range missile in July and had threatened to fire four ballistic missiles toward Guam.
"I don't know exactly when (it will happen), but a sixth nuclear test is a less risky option for North Korea than firing missiles towards Guam".
Last month North Korea test-launched two ICBMs at highly lofted angles, and outside experts say those missiles can reach some USA parts like Alaska, Los Angeles or Chicago if fired at normal, flattened trajectories.
"North Korea must at least end additional provocations to create the mood for dialogue".
Far from the dusty firing ranges just south of the heavily fortified border with North Korea, U.S. and South Korean troops hunch over laptops and screens wearing earphones and camouflaged combat uniforms, according to photos of past UFG drills on the United States Forces Korea website.
Though North Korea's nuclear-weapons program is often seen as a matter of regime survival, some USA officials are skeptical of that rationale.
But South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the allies were thinking of scrapping an initial plan to bring in two aircraft carriers to the peninsula to take part in the drill, which will run through to Aug 31.
The same exercises in 2016 provoked North Korea to conduct nuclear tests.
Kim's problem in the escalating crisis has been that he faced a united front from the USA and China - backed by South Korea, Japan and Russian Federation. Bu they all agree that in order to hold US-North Korea peace talks, South Korea and the US should suspend their regular joint military exercises.
He quoted historian Bruce Cumings: "Most Americans are completely unaware that we destroyed more cities in the North then we did in Japan or Germany during World War II".
According to the defense agreement between the USA and South Korea, both nations must first consult with one another before military action can take place on the Korean Peninsula.
What worries him is a situation where North Korea feels it's about to be attacked and worries it can't win a war. An official from US Forces Korea said that the number of participating American troops can marginally change depending on how training events are designed and that the lower number this year doesn't represent an effort to downsize the drills.
South Korea's Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said in an August 11 editorial that the allies could gain a bargaining chip in efforts to persuade the North into meaningful nuclear talks by halting or scaling down the joint drills.
North Koreans are constantly told the U.S. wants to destroy their country - but have no idea what their sworn enemy's leader looks like. "It's inadequate in the face of a regime like North Korea's".
"North Korea is probably looking at all the cards it has to maximize pressure against the United States, and the drills provide a good opportunity to do it", Cheon said.