US, South Korea joint military drills begin in Western Pacific

Nov 12, 2017, 01:52
US, South Korea joint military drills begin in Western Pacific

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.

However, reports indicate the Japanese would send a ship following a separate exercise. The decision to soon go forward with the exercise in the Western Pacific has not been previously published.

The specific location of the drill remains unclear.

Reuters was not aware of any plans for Trump to visit the carriers.

North Korea has repeatedly complained about American naval exercises in the region, but it has sparked worldwide condemnation with repeated tests of missiles and nuclear weapons. Kim has called Trump a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard".

The San Diego-based carrier Theodore Roosevelt is joining two other flattops for a major exercise in the western Pacific that begins Saturday. Such a move is widely interpreted as a show of force against North Korea's nuclear threats and China's assertiveness in the South China Sea. Trump has vowed to "totally destroy" the country if overly provoked.

Trump may also board one of the carriers in person to demonstrate the USA firepower and its regional security commitment.

"These three carriers are not there specifically targeting North Korea".

In this image released by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, flanked by South Korean destroyers, from left, Yang Manchun and Sejong the Great, and the U.S. Navy's Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, transit the western Pacific Ocean Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

USA defense officials noted recently the presence of the three United States carriers in the region was reassuring allies, even though it was long scheduled. Reagan has been operating off the Korean peninsula since last month.

"All relevant sides should exercise restraint, avoid irritating each other, dedicate themselves to lowering the tense situation on the peninsula, and at the same time make positive efforts to get the North Korean nuclear issue back on a track to a resolution via talks as soon as possible", Hua said, reiterating the long-held Chinese position.

Nuclear-armed North Korea has lashed out at the military muscle-flexing, which it calls a rehearsal for invasion.

The U.S. 7th Fleet, which announced the exercise yesterday, have said it will demonstrate its resolve with allies Japan and South Korea.

Still, he warned Pyongyang that its military was no match for the U.S.

"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.

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