Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Thursday confirmed to media that this will be the first time that the ROK and the US navies stage joint bilateral drills with the three aircraft carriers in waters off the east coast of the country.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency described the exercises as an "unprecedented show of force" off the peninsula.

The US Navy said yesterday that the three vessels - the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt - will conduct "coordinated operations in global waters" in the western Pacific between Saturday and Tuesday.

From the South Korean side, two Aegis-equipped destroyers, one destroyer and four frigates will be mobilized for the joint exercises with the US carriers, according to Yonhap.

During the joint drill, the two countries will practice air operation and artillery strikes, as well as aircraft carrier escorts to test their ability to jointly carry out operations.

"The training is aimed at restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations and showing our military's strong willingness to act and military preparedness", the JCS said, quoted in the local press.

A flurry of missile tests from North Korea this year have raised the likelihood of South Korea using the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system - something China has vehemently opposed.




The defense ministry, however, has ruled out the possibility of trilateral military drills with Japan.

The exercises come on the heels of Trump's visits to Seoul and Beijing this week, which were dominated by the question of how to counter Pyongyang's nuclear weapons threat.

The US and South Korea launched military manoeuvres involving three American aircraft carrier strike groups on Saturday in a massive show of force that drew the anger of rival North Korea.

The U.S. and South Korea kick-off a landmark operation in the Western Pacific.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region. The 7th Fleet said that the previous joint exercises involving three carrier strike groups had taken place off the coast of Guam in 2006 and 2007.

South Korea's military announced its participation on Friday.

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