SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea is criticizing South Korea-U.S. military drills with milder-than-usual language that's seen as a sign of its interest in keeping up diplomacy.

North Korea typically speaks with warlike rhetoric against any South Korea-U.S. exercises because it considers them as a rehearsal for invasion.

But it has not made any harsh statements against the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills the United States and South Korea began Monday.

Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea called the training "big anti-(North Korea) war drills" and warned South Korea could face unspecified consequence.

But Tuesday's warning is not as intimidating as past statements such as threats of nuclear war the country made during springtime drills between the allies.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

South Korean and U.S. militaries began annual drills Monday amid signs of easing tension on the divided peninsula, with Pyongyang's state media shunning typical rhetoric against what they call a rehearsal for an invasion.

Earlier this year, the Korean Peninsula saw a spike in tensions, with North Korea vowing nuclear wars during earlier annual springtime U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Pyongyang has since eased its rhetoric and pursued dialogues with Seoul and Washington.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills that continue until Aug. 30 are computer-simulated war games that involve 30,000 American and 50,000 South Korean troops, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry and the U.S. military command in Seoul.

The allies say the drills are defensive in nature, but Pyongyang has reacted angrily to them in the past, calling the drills a preparation for a pre-emptive attack. But in an unusual move, North Korean state media have not made any major statements on this year's exercises so far.

"North Korea appears to have determined it's necessary to take a cool-headed attitude" over the drills to maintain efforts to resume jointly run economic cooperation programs, said analyst Cheong Seong-chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea.

The two Koreas last week agreed to work toward reopening a shuttered jointly run factory park, and Pyongyang on Sunday accepted South Korea's offer for talks on reuniting families separated by war.

On Monday, South Korea approved a visit this week by four North Koreans to attend a U.N.-organized youth leadership program. They will be the second group of North Koreans to visit since the new South Korean government of President Park Geun-hye took office in February, according to Park's Unification Ministry. A women's soccer team was in South Korea last month to compete in a regional competition.

Despite the recent conciliatory gestures, some analysts in South Korea are wary of the North's intentions, saying Pyongyang often follows provocations and threats with a charm offensive meant to win aid.

North Korea said Sunday it had agreed to South Korea's offer for Red Cross talks Friday on the family reunions but proposed another set of talks Thursday on resuming lucrative tours of Diamond Mountain, implying it wants the tourism restart in return for allowing the reunions.

South Korea suspended tours to Diamond Mountain after a South Korean woman was shot dead by a North Korean border guard there in 2008. The project had provided a legitimate source of hard currency to North Korea before its suspension.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said Monday it is reviewing North Korea's offer for talks on the mountain tours.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • South Korean Marines take park in an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • A South Korean Marine aims his machine gun during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean Marines move during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean marines take a rest on their K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

  • South Korean army soldiers prepare 155 mm howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • Members of the US Air Force aim their weapons from behind their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons from the top of their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers aim their weapons during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force and South Korean Army soldiers read maps for an operation to guard a US airbase as part of annual joint exercises outside the airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A US Air Force soldier (L) talks to South Korean Army soldiers during an operation to guard a US airbase as part of annual joint exercises outside the airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons behind their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers aim their weapons during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers get out from a military truck during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Members of the US Air Force aim their weapons from their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons from behind their vehicles during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Marines take part in an exercise on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean Marines walk by a K-55 self-propelled howitzer during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • A South Korean marine K-55 self-propelled howitzer fires during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • South Korean soldiers walk near their armored vehicles during an exercise near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • A South Korean K-9 self-propelled gun howitzer fires during an exercise near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Friday, March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Shin Joon-hee)