S Korea, US conduct joint drills in Yellow Sea

Updated: 2012-06-23 09:42


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SEOUL - Forces from South Korea and the United States launched combined maritime maneuver drills on Saturday in the Yellow Sea with the participation of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington.

According to Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the three-day exercises mobilized about 10 warships and submarines. Apart from the carrier George Washington, South Korea's King Sejong destroyer also took part in the drills.

The drills, taking place near a South Korean island off the west coast town of Taean in the Yellow Sea, also involved some 8, 000 personnel from the two allies' navies and airforces, along with South Korea's F-15K fighter jets and the US F-18 Super Hornet aircraft.

The intention of the exercises is to boost the operability of the combined forces between the two allies, the JCS said.

According to the plan, the two sides will conduct maneuvers to jointly detect and track long-range missiles launched by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as well as intercept its submarines.

The exercises came as a follow-up of a two-day, trilateral naval drill with Japan in waters off South Korea's southern island of Jeju which just ended on Friday.

Also on Friday, the two allies held their largest-ever live- fire drill in Pocheon, near the border with the DPRK to mark the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.

The series of military drills came amid persistent tensions on the peninsula following a failed satellite launch by the DPRK in April, which was seen as a cover for a long-range missile test and drew condemnation from the UN Security Council.

In response, Pyongyang on Friday denounced the joint naval drills by the United States, South Korea and Japan as "an intentional act to provoke war, which has pushed the Korean Peninsula and the rest of Northeast Asia to the edge of armed conflict."