Friday, 17 November, 2017

Seoul, Washington start manoeuvers with United States aircraft carriers

Three US aircraft carriers to conduct drills in Asia amid North Korean crisis 3 US aircraft carriers to enter waters off Korean Peninsula to stage joint drills: S.Korean military
Wilma Wheeler | 12 November, 2017, 01:50

The US leader, who began a visit South Korea on Tuesday, has rattled some allies with his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to defend the United States or its allies, and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

The South Morning China Post quoted military officials describing this as a clear warning to North Korea, which involve three US aircraft carriers.

"A touch-and-go situation is prevailing in the peninsula due to the US and south Korean puppet forces' military provocations", the official Rodong Sinmun wrote. "Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region".

According to the U.S. Navy, it is the first three-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific since 2007. In recent months, U.S. Navy carriers have conducted dual-carrier strike group exercises in the Western Pacific, including in the contested South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.

"The strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training", said a statement from the Navy's 7th Fleet, which is responsible for monitoring the Pacific including North Korea.

The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt.

Three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and 11 Aegis ships from the U.S. Navy, as well as seven warships - including two Aegis destroyers - will be mobilized in the drills staged in the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO).

The strike exercise has come up amidst growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang's nuclear arms and ballistic missile programs.

North Korea's foreign ministry issued a statement via the official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday describing Trump's trip as "a warmonger's visit for confrontation".

-South Korean alliance, and that diplomacy was most effective "when backed by credible military force".

Trump on Tuesday reiterated his goal to achieve what he called "peace through strength", warning the US could use "the full range of our unmatched military capabilities" against Pyongyang.

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