US, S Korea begin joint Naval drills

Three US aircraft carriers to conduct drills in Asia amid North Korean crisis

3 US aircraft carriers to enter waters off Korean Peninsula to stage joint drills: S.Korean military

According to reports, the exercise will involve seven South Korean and 11 USA ships, as well as the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nimitz.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", US Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift was quoted as saying. "South Korea and the U.S. are now discussing whether or not the South Korean Navy will take part in the exercises as well", the source said.

North Korea has launched a stinging attack on US President Donald Trump following his visit to South Korea.

Pyongyang detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb in September after months of ballistic missile tests that riled Washington and its allies Japan and South Korea.

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The drill is also in response to North Korean nuclear and missile provocations, the South's military said, and to show any such developments by Pyongyang can be repelled with "overwhelming force".

In addition to the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy also will mobilize 11 Aegis ships.

The U.S. and South Korea kick-off a landmark operation in the Western Pacific.

"The participating forces of both countries plan to enhance their ability to implement combined operations and interoperability through aircraft carrier escort operations, aviation operations, and shooting", the JCS said in a statement.

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The carriers, already operating in the Western Pacific, will sail one by one into the waters east of Korea for the event, it added.

"The U.S. efforts to expand its military influence in Asia-Pacific and the movement of big neighboring powers to contain it escalate the military tension and increase arms race in the region with each passing day", it said.

The drills are reportedly the first of their kind since the three carrier strike groups conducted the Valiant Shield exercise off the coast of Guam in 2006 and 2007.

South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea.

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