South Korean defense forces on Monday kicked off their annual military exercises amid growing tension on the Korean Peninsula.
The military drills aimed to monitor North Korea's movement, maintaining an emergency response posture to any threat from Pyongyang, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
"Comprehensively assessing the recent situations, we are closely tracking and monitoring (the North's) related movements and maintaining a firm readiness posture," the agency quoted Col. Kim Jun-rak, spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), as saying during a regular briefing.
"The exercise will be carried out in a substantive way with a focus on maintaining preparedness and enhancing joint operational capabilities," Kim added.
The exercises will continue through Oct. 28.
On Sunday, the South Korean presidency warned that North Korea is expected to carry out its seventh nuclear test at any time after recent missile tests.
"As North Korea's provocations have become more frequent, we're putting all of our efforts into maintaining a readiness posture with a sense of alertness," the agency quoted an unnamed senior presidential official telling reporters.
"It's a 24-hour readiness regime," he said.
On Friday, North Korea fired another short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) into the East Sea, two days after they fired two long-range strategic cruise missiles, involving units operating "tactical nukes.”
On Oct. 4, US and South Korean forces held live-fire joint drills after North Korea fired a missile over Japan for the first time in five years.
Tensions on the peninsula rose in 2020 when North Korea attacked and blew up the inter-Korean liaison office along the border. Seoul has threatened a strong response if Pyongyang "further worsens the situation."
However, tensions soared further recently after Seoul and Washington held joint military drills.