Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

US, South Korea Begin Joint Naval Exercises In The Western Pacific

US, South Korea Begin Joint Naval Exercises In The Western Pacific

The drills would take place from November 11 to Nov.14.

It's the first time for the U.S.to operate three of its 11 carriers simultaneously in the area since 2007.

Seoul, :The United States and South Korea have started joint naval drills that will involve three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea.

It is the first time that three aircraft carriers are conducting drills together in the western Pacific since the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007 off the coast of the island of Guam. He added, "Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific's ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region".

"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.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a trip late last month to South Korea, was at pains to stress that diplomacy was America's preferred course to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

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The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt. The exercise included 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

From the end of May to the beginning of June, the US Navy sent two aircraft carriers - the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Carl Vinson - to the waters around the Korean Peninsula to conduct joint exercises.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Thursday confirmed to media that this will be the first time that the ROK and the US navies stage joint bilateral drills with the three aircraft carriers in waters off the east coast of the country. "It is a hell that no person deserves", the CNN reported.

In a commentary released Saturday, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's official media, criticized the United States for "heightening military tension in the Asia-Pacific region".

Still, he warned Pyongyang that its military was no match for the U.S. "And do not try us".

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