Joint exercise with Japan and South Korea coincides with further escalation with Pyongyang
The United States, Japan and South Korea will hold a joint anti-submarine exercise involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan for the first time since 2017, amid tensions over recent tests missiles from North Korea.
The maneuvers, which begin on Friday, will involve the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan, the South Korean destroyer Menmu the Great and a Japanese Asahi-class destroyer.
The USS Ronald Reagan and three other US warships arrived in South Korea last week, with the aircraft carrier docking in the port of Busan on Friday.
“The training is part of steps taken by the Department of Defense to restore military cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan to pre-2017 levels, to respond to nuclear and missile threats from the United States. North Korea,” he added. the South Korean Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Seoul said North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday. A similar launch was reported last week, following a series of increased weapons tests by Pyongyang since the start of the year.
The escalation came when US Vice President Kamala Harris met South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol as part of her Asian tour. Harris hailed the partnership between the countries as a “keystone of security and propensity” on the Korean peninsula and on the world stage.
The White House said Harris and Yoon discussed joint responses to “potential future provocations, including through trilateral cooperation with Japan.”
Pyongyang has repeatedly said it views military exercises around the Korean peninsula involving the United States as a threat to its security. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, North Korean envoy Kim Song said the region was caught in “a vicious circle of tension and confrontation due to the growing hostility of the United States.”
Kim added that the US-led drills increased the risk of armed conflict in the region, calling international sanctions against Pyongyang unfair.
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