As the drill ended Friday, the Foreign Ministry released a report saying there is a "possibility" North Korea would conduct a third nuclear test early next year to cement Kim Jong-Eun's position as heir apparent to his father, Kim Jong-Il, the Times said. Another report released Thursday said the low-level conflict between the two Koreas could escalate to a war.
Since the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March, killing 46 sailors, the two countries have been at odds. In November, the North killed two soldiers and two civilians when it shelled Yeongpyeong Island.
Cooperation between the two countries, still technically at war more than half a century after the 1953 cease-fire, has also slowed.
The exercises began off the island and a North Korean official called them a "grave military provocation."