South Korean President Moon Jae-in salutes to the national flag during a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul. Kim Ju-hyoung/Yonhap via Reuters

South Korea President Moon Jae-in repeated his demand that North Korea stop its provocations in response to US-South Korean joint exercises, warning of a “vicious cycle,” reports the Joongang Daily.

The annual drills are “defensive in nature,” Moon said, adding that provocations in response would only “lead to another round of joint military action.”

“The North should not distort our efforts to safeguard peace in the region,” he said, “and should not use the drill as an excuse to aggravate tensions with new provocations.”