US, S. Korea begin joint Naval drills

Posted November 12, 2017

Three U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike groups are scheduled to conduct joint drills with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) over the next few days in a show of force against North Korea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Friday.

The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt.

The joint military drills of South Korea and the United States involving three aircraft carrier strike groups begin in the Western Pacific on Saturday.

South Korea supports the Belt and Road Initiative and is willing to actively participate in its implementation, he said, while calling for concerted efforts to resume bilateral high-level exchanges and cooperation in various fields as soon as possible.

On North Korea's nuclear and missile development issue, the two leaders agreed the need to stably manage the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The goal 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".

A flurry of missile tests from North Korea this year have raised the likelihood of South Korea using the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system - something China has vehemently opposed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov. 11, 2017.

President Trump is now on a tour of Asia that has taken him to Japan, South Korea and China so far.

The US administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

The agreement is a positive move for relations in the region, however it is likely to spark a fire under North Korea dictator Kim Jong-Un - who viewed China as its only ally in his self-inflicted war of words with the South Korea "puppet force" and the US.