SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the United States on Sunday launched a four-day joint naval drill in tense waters west of the divided Korean Peninsula.
The drill, conducted five days after the artillery skirmish between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) off the west coast, is centering on antiaircraft defense and naval surface warfare.
Calling the drill "defensive in nature", the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) here said in a statement it "demonstrates the strength" of the alliance between Seoul and Washington and their "commitment to regional stability through deterrence." It is also designed to improve the two nation's military interoperability, it said.
According to reports, the USS George Washington, a nuclear- powered 97,000-ton carrier is taking part in the drill, along with the USS Cowpens cruiser, the USS Stethem destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS Shiloh.
The South Korean military sent two destroyers, a naval patrol ship and an antisubmarine warfare aircraft to take part in the exercise.
China has expressed its opposition to any military operations in its exclusive economic zone without permission.
"We hold a consistent and clear-cut stance on the issue. We oppose any party to take any military actions in our exclusive economic zone without permission," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement days before the South Korea- U.S. joint drill.
Tensions are high on the Korean Peninsula after the two sides exchanged fire last Tuesday in waters near the contentious sea border called the Northern Limit Line (NLL). The artillery clash left four South Koreans dead, while damage to the DPRK still remains unknown.
South Korea and the DPRK have remained at odds on the so-called NLL, which was fixed unilaterally by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the 1950-1953 Korean War. South Korea holds the NLL as the de-facto western inter-Korean border, but the DPRK rejected the NLL and only recognized the demarcation line it drew in 1999, which was further south of the NLL.
DPRK warns U.S., South Korea against military drill
PYONGYANG, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) warned Friday the U.S. and South Korea against the planned military drill, saying it is pushing the Korean Peninsula "to the brink of war."
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war due to the reckless plan of those trigger-happy elements to stage again the war exercises targeted against the DPRK," the official Korean Central News Agency said. Full story
S Korea, U.S. to stage joint drill in waters off west coast next week
SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Korean and the United States will stage a joint naval drill in waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula next week, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed to Xinhua Wednesday.
The U.S. will send the USS George Washington carrier strike to join South Korea's naval forces in the four-day drill, slated from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) here. Full story