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

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

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

Three U.S. aircraft carriers - USS Nimitz, USS Kitty Hawk, and USS John C. Stennis - steam in formation during a 2007 training exercise in the Western Pacific in this photo released by the 7th Fleet.

Trump also warned North Korea not to underestimate the United States in a speech to the South Korean parliament on Wednesday, while offering leader Kim Jong-Un a better future if he gives up his nuclear ambitions.

The joint chiefs of staff of South Korea said in a statement in Seoul that its naval vessels will participate in the drills.

Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres or missile tests in response.

The exercises will also involve 11 U.S. Aegis ships and seven South Korean naval vessels, including two Aegis ships.

During the joint drill, the two countries will practice air operation and artillery strikes, as well as aircraft carrier escorts to test their ability to jointly carry out operations.

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

Donald Trump's presence in Asia appears not to have calmed tensions in the Korean peninsula, where South Korea has launched joint military drills with the US; in turn, Pyongyang has called the US President a "destroyer" who has "begged for a nuclear war".

The objective of the exercise was to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to "operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force efforts", the navy said, adding that the three carrier strike groups will conduct training including "air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuver".

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.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region.

Yonhap said the three aircraft carriers will enter the KTO one by one as the strike groups sail with a certain distance from each other.

South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea.

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