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Korea says S. Korea-US drills could lead to war

15 November 2017

For the first time in a decade, three U.S. Navy carriers are in the same place at the same time for a series of exercises in the Western Pacific.

"This exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region", Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

Joining the three United States carriers and their strike groups were three Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force warships including the helicopter destroyer JS Ise, a guided-missile destroyer and general objective destroyer.

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The exercise involves three USA aircraft carrier groups, making it the largest show of force in a decade.

The South Korean military said that the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt will stage a joint drill with the South Korean Navy on Sunday afternoon in the Korea theater of operations (KTO) off the country's east coast. Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved USA and Japanese ships, the official said.

The exercise - which is happening as President Donald Trump wraps up his lengthy tour of five Asian nations - includes air-defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and close-in coordinated maneuvers.

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These exercises typically happen when an aircraft carrier deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations joins with the carrier based in Japan.

Following the bilateral JMSDF-US Navy exercise, the carriers strike groups linked up with seven Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) warships including two Aegis guided missile destroyers for war games meant to deter North Korea.

In a commentary released on November 11, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's official media outlet, accused the United States of heightening tensions in the region and provoking an arms race.

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However, Pyongyangs state news agency accused the US and South Korea of attempting to escalate tensions in the region.

Korea says S. Korea-US drills could lead to war