The risk to South Korea has restrained successive American administrations striking North Korea to take out its nuclear and missile facilities, even as its capability has improved to the point where it now poses a threat to the USA mainland.
Combative rhetoric between the nations spiked after Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the United States within range, sparking an intense warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North.
The call came as China urged the United States and North Korea to "hit the brakes" on the hostile rhetoric that has led to both countries threatening each other with military action and to prevent an "August crisis" on the peninsula.
Just last week, the communist regime threatened to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan into waters near the USA territory of Guam. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"
Moon is trying to alleviate South Koreans' fears of military action.
This could make attempts at diplomacy between the two nations even more hard.
Some experts say North Korea is mainly focused on the bigger picture of testing its bargaining power against the United States with its new long-range missiles and likely has no interest in letting things get too tense during the drills.
In 2015, Japan and South Korea reached a joint agreement on resolving the comfort women issue.
David Wright, a USA analyst from the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an emailed statement that the United States should "postpone or significantly restructure" the exercises to reduce the risk of military confrontation. The U.S. and other countries have accused North Korea of using export income to fund its banned weapons programs. Shortly after the drills, the North carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test, which it claimed was of a "standardized" warhead that could fit on a variety of its rockets.
The rhetoric between North Korea and the US has cooled off in recent days.
"A dialogue between South and North Korea must resume".
Moon has repeatedly urged North Korea not to "cross the red line" but had not previously elaborated what that would constitute.
"The joint declaration for a nuclear-free peninsula has already been scrapped by the North, and I believe it has become virtually meaningless for us to hold fast to it", Chung Woo-taik, the conservative party's floor leader, said during its meeting Wednesday.
A Friday statement from the White House seemed to indicate that deliberation process was still underway. But he said he considered economic pressure was the main way to persuade North Korea to take part in nuclear talks. We will continue communication with our federal and military partners.
"Although geopolitical tensions have risen of late in the Korean Peninsula, we believe a direct armed conflict is unlikely", the credit appraiser said in a statement.
"China believes that dialogue and consultations are the only effective avenue to resolve the peninsula issue, and that military means can not become an option", China's Defence Ministry cited Fan as saying.