Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at N. Korea

The military also said another objective of the drills was to "show off the determination for strong retaliation and the firm military readiness", and the ROK and US militaries' ability to "repulse any kind of provocations by North Korea with overwhelming military power in case of contingency".

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

"The participating forces of the two nations plan to enhance combined operation capability and interoperability through aircraft carrier escort operation, aviation operation and aerial firing", said the JCS.

This will be the first time the three US aircraft carriers will conduct an exercise in the area since 2007.

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

The country's joint chiefs of staff (JCS) announced Friday that South Korea will send seven of its warships-including two Aegis Combat System-equipped vessels, one destroyer and four frigates-to join three US aircraft carriers deployed in the Western Pacific that will perform their first joint drill in a decade.

The US warships will carry out air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and other training operations, the US Navy said.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said on Tuesday.

President Trump's exchange of threats and insults with Pyongyang has done nothing to curb regional tensions and with South Korea and China suited either side of the hermit state, it is in their interests not to push for military action.

China hit the jackpot in three major ways in its recent agreement to mend ties with South Korea over the latter's deployment of a US THAAD antimissile system, according to 38 North, a respected specialist website on North Korea.

The leaders also agreed to continue their discussions next month when the South Korean president will make a trip to China for their third bilateral summit, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

  • Rogelio Becker