US Carrier,S. Korea Ships Launch Drills09/26 07:04
A U.S. aircraft carrier and its battle group launched drills with South
Korean warships off the Korean Peninsula's east coast on Monday in their first
such training in five years, a day after North Korea test-fired a short-range
ballistic missile in a possible response to the exercise.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A U.S. aircraft carrier and its battle group
launched drills with South Korean warships off the Korean Peninsula's east
coast on Monday in their first such training in five years, a day after North
Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile in a possible response to the
North Korea could conduct more tests in coming days as it views U.S.-South
Korean military exercises as practice for an invasion and often reacts with
displays of weapons designed to attack its rivals.
The four days of drills are aimed at demonstrating the allies' "powerful
resolve to respond to North Korean provocations" and improving their ability to
perform joint naval operations, the South Korean navy said in a statement.
More than 20 U.S. and South Korean navy ships, including the nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, a U.S. cruiser and South Korean and U.S.
destroyers, were mobilized for the drills, according to the navy statement. It
said U.S. and South Korean fighter jets and helicopters will also take part in
It would be the first such joint drills involving a U.S. aircraft carrier
near the peninsula since 2017, when the U.S. sent three aircraft carriers
including the Reagan for naval drills with South Korea in response to North
Korean nuclear and missile tests. The allies had since cancelled or downsized
some of their regular drills to support now-dormant talks on North Korea's
nuclear program or guard against COVID-19.
The North Korean missile fired on Sunday flew about 600 kilometers (370
miles) at the maximum altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles) before falling into
the waters off the North's east coast, according to South Korean estimates.
Some experts say North Korea might have launched a nuclear-capable, highly
maneuverable ballistic missile and that its 600 kilometer-flight had enough
range to strike a southeastern South Korean port where the Reagan was
North Korea has performed a record number of missile tests this year as it
steadfastly rebuffs U.S. and South Korean calls to resume the nuclear
diplomacy. North Korea has said it won't return to talks unless the United
States drops its hostile policies in an apparent reference to U.S.-South Korean
military drills and U.S.-led economic sanctions on it.
Earlier this month, North Korea adopted a new law that authorized the
preemptive use of nuclear weapons in some situations, a development that showed
its increasingly aggressive nuclear doctrine. Some analysts say North Korea
would eventually aim for arms control negotiations with the United States to
get sanctions relief and other concessions in return for a partial surrender of
its nuclear capability.