Korea Start Drills In Show Of Force Against N. Korea

Sunday, 12 Nov, 2017

According to reports, the exercise will involve seven South Korean and 11 USA ships, as well as the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nimitz.

Instead, the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) will be "deployed rotationally and sequentially" to carry out joint exercises with warships from the ROKN.

The three carriers will be likely together in the drills around Monday, according to a South Korean military official, who didn't want to be named, citing office rules.

The United States and South Korea began joint naval exercises Saturday involving three US aircraft carriers, in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea.

"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 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.

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The exercises come on the heels of US President Donald Trump's visit to Seoul and Beijing this week, with the North's nuclear and missile threats looming large.

Bong Young-shik, an expert on regional relations at South Korea's Yonsei University, said: "China's economic retaliation only pushed Korea closer into the trilateral alliance between Japan and the US".

He said Friday the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the "twisted fantasies" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as he called on countries to stand united against Pyongyang.

Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Trump reiterated firm commitment to achieving denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and working towards a solution through dialogue and negotiation.

The writers argue that China never intended the informal sanctions it slapped on South Korea after the deployment of a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system to be long term.