The United States and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills next week, the top U.S. military official said on Thursday, resisting pressure from North Korea and its ally China to halt the contentious exercises.
North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fuelled a rise in tensions in recent months.
Pyongyang threatened last week to fire missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and U.S. President Donald Trump warned soon after that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.
Annual military drills involving tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops are due to begin on Monday. China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills in exchange for North Korea calling a halt to its weapons programmes.