Two days before Seoul and Washington kicked off their annual two-week Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, the North Korean military began making threats.
"If we decide, South Korea's small and big military bases will turn into a sea of fire and a heap of ashes."
Pyongyang has long denounced the drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North.
But since it fired five short-range rockets into the East Sea on August 14th, the North has shown some restraint.
Instead, it has proposed talks to discuss logistics for its athletes and cheering squad at the upcoming Incheon Asian Games.
"The North has proposed talks on the practical issues related to the Asian Games through an exchange of letters."
Experts view the North's latest contradictory moves of threats and offers of dialogue as a typical stick-and-carrot strategy.
"As opposed to their threatening remarks in written words, I think the North will propose more dialogue in the future to send its delegation to the Asian Games.
Many experts believe inter-Korean talks will resume after the joint drills are over, but most agree it'll be difficult to attain many tangible results on issues such as holding family reunions and resuming tours to North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.