U.S., Allies Hold Naval Exercise Despite North Korean Criticism

The United States, Japan and South Korea on Thursday started a two-day maritime drill that drew standard criticism from North Korea, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, June 19).

The trilateral exercise in international waters close to the South encompasses supply transport vessels, destroyers and helicopters; it is to focus on response scenarios that do not involve armed conflict, the South Korean Defense Ministry said. No artillery maneuvers are to take place as part of the drill. A ministry spokesman would not disclose the number of troops involved in the program.

North Korea through its official party newspaper denounced the maritime drill as a "reckless provocation." The Stalinist regime said it would lead to a "new cloud of war" in the region.

"The North's people and military are intensely watching the trilateral military drill," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

The USS George Washington aircraft carrier on Friday is to take part in the drill prior to participating in a  two-way exercise in the Yellow Sea. The U.S.-South Korea naval drill is to take place from Saturday to Monday.

On Friday, South Korean and U.S. troops are to stage their largest bilateral artillery drill yet. The goal of the live-fire exercise is to demonstrate their "watertight defense posture and war-fighting capabilities," according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington are concerned that Pyongyang might decide to make good on threats it has made in recent months that include targeted attacks on South Korea. There are also worries that the North is preparing to conduct a third nuclear test or a follow-up to a failed April rocket firing that was widely viewed as a test of ballistic missile technology (Agence France-Presse/Google News, June 21).

June 21, 2012
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The United States, Japan and South Korea on Thursday started a two-day maritime drill that drew standard criticism from North Korea, Agence France-Presse reported.

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