S.Korea, US Kick off Joint Naval Exercise Involving 3 US 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

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", US Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift was quoted as saying. Eleven Aegis destroyers of the U.S. Navy are also taking part.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan conducts joint drills with the South Korean navy at sea on October 19.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and flew ballistic missiles over Japan on August 29 and September 15.

A total of seven South Korean navy vessels, including Aegis-equipped warships, will participate in the drill, the statement said, to accompany 14 USA naval warships.

"The participating forces of both countries plan to enhance their ability to implement combined operations and interoperability through aircraft carrier escort operations, aviation operations, and shooting", the JCS said in a statement.

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The defense ministry, however, has ruled out the possibility of trilateral military drills with Japan.

The South Korean Navy has started a joint naval exercise with the USA involving three US nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to deliver a strong warning to North Korea.

The exercises come on the heels of Trump's visits to Seoul and Beijing this week, which were dominated by the question of how to counter Pyongyang's nuclear weapons threat.

The last time such drills were held was during the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007, which took place off the coast of the US territory of Guam, which hosts two USA military bases and is on the North Korean radar for a potential missile strike.

President Trump's exchange of threats and insults with Pyongyang has done nothing to curb regional tensions and with South Korea and China suited either side of the hermit state, it is in their interests not to push for military action. It also flew two new midrange missiles over Japan and threatened to launch them toward Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.

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