Intelligence officials in Seoul said evidence of military maneuvering inside North Korea suggests the isolated communist dictatorship is preparing to show its teeth during the annual exercises. It comes just weeks after the nation defied international warnings and detonated a nuclear weapon in a provocative test of its arsenal.
"It is unprecedented that the North is preparing this type of exercise during the (South Korean-U.S.) training period," an unidentified South Korean military official told Yonhap News Agency Sunday.
The drills are expected to be bigger than firearms training conducted last March during the same U.S.-South Korean exercises. Though defensive in nature, North Korea has always said the south's drills are a rehearsal for a northward invasion.
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