US, South Korea Begin Joint Naval Exercises In The Western Pacific

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier arrives in the South Korean port city of Busan on October 21, 2017.

South Korea and the United States on Saturday kicked off a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan involving three US aircraft carriers amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

It is the first such triple-carrier drill in the region for a decade.

This was stated in the office of the President of South Korea, reports Reuters.

Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres or missile tests in response.

The goal of the exercise was to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to "operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force efforts", the navy said, adding that the three carrier strike groups will conduct training including "air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuver".

The exercise is taking place while U.S. President Donald Trump is on an Asian tour and presenting a united front with regional leaders.

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"It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world", Trump told media at a news conference following a summit with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

The United States has been sending its strategic assets, also including long-range bombers, to the region more frequently for patrols or drills amid accelerating North Korean efforts to expand its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. Navy's previous training operation involving three carriers was in the vicinity of Guam in the Western Pacific in 2007 during the Valiant Shield exercise.

Currently, he is in Vietnam where he took part in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

President Trump is now on a tour of Asia that has taken him to Japan, South Korea and China so far.

"China insists on the implementation of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula, and resolving the existing problems through dialogue and consultation", said the Chinese leader.

  • Sonia Alvarado