US and S. Korea to launch ma­jor navy drill next week

The Star Malaysia - - World -

SEOUL: The United States and South Korea will kick off a ma­jor navy drill next week, the US navy said.

Ten­sions over North Korea’s weapons pro­gramme have soared in re­cent months with Py­ongyang launch­ing a flurry of mis­siles and con­duct­ing its sixth and most pow­er­ful nu­clear test in de­fi­ance of mul­ti­ple sets of UN sanc­tions.

The United States has since ramped up mil­i­tary drills with South Korea and Ja­pan, its two clos­est al­lies in the re­gion.

In a state­ment, the US 7th Fleet said the USS Ronald Rea­gan air­craft car­rier and two US de­stroy­ers would take part in the drill along­side South Korean Navy ves­sels.

The ex­er­cise, slated for Oct 16 to 26, would pro­mote “com­mu­nica- tions, in­ter-op­er­abil­ity, and part­ner­ship,” the state­ment added.

The move will likely rile Py­ongyang which had pre­vi­ously warned against any up­com­ing joint ex­er­cises.

“If US im­pe­ri­al­ists and the South Korean pup­pets ig­nite a nu­clear war of ag­gres­sion against us, it would only ad­vance their own demise,” the state-run KCNA news agency said.

There has been a flurry of US mil­i­tary hard­ware move­ment around the Korean penin­sula in re­cent days.

Yes­ter­day the nu­clear-powered

USS Michi­gan sub­ma­rine ar­rived at South Korea’s south­ern port of Bu­san, ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap news agency, just days af­ter an­other sub­ma­rine – the USS Tus­con – left af­ter a five day visit. — AFP

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