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U.S., Japan, S Korea to hold joint naval drills

13 Comments

The United States, South Korea and Japan will hold joint naval exercises next week in waters around the Korean peninsula, a U.S. defense official said Thursday, as fears grow over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

The announcement comes as U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry were in Tokyo to meet their Japanese counterparts following talks with South Korean officials this week.

The U.S. defense official gave few details about the three-nation drills, calling them "increasingly common" and "designed to strengthen coordination and improve readiness to respond to situations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief".

"Next week, in waters around the Korean peninsula, the USS George Washington Strike Group will conduct a trilateral maritime exercise with the Republic of Korea Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force," he said.

The announcement was made a day after the United States and South Korea said they had mapped out a new strategy to counter the growing threat of a North Korean nuclear or chemical weapons attack.

Observers said the new plan was largely a confidence-building measure to underline Washington's support for Seoul against any provocation from Pyongyang.

The naval drills also come as U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to rebalance U.S. diplomatic and military weight toward the rising Pacific region.

Aside from tensions over North Korea, Japan is embroiled in a bitter sovereignty row with Beijing over ownership of islands in the East China Sea, which analysts have warned could be the flashpoint for a military conflict between the two Asian giants.

South Korea and Japan are themselves involved in a dispute tied to long-held territorial claims and anger over Tokyo's wartime aggression.

North's Korea's nuclear test in February -- its third and most powerful to date -- triggered months of heightened military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States, while the Pentagon responded by deploying nuclear-capable B2 stealth bombers during joint military exercises with Seoul.

And in March, Seoul and Washington signed another pact providing for a joint military response even to low-level provocation by North Korea.

Tensions have since eased, but acute concerns remain over the North's nuclear program, with a U.S. think-tank saying Wednesday that Pyongyang has clearly restarted an aging plutonium reactor, after analyzing new satellite imagery.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, which last month reported signs that the Yongbyon reactor had resumed operation, said that more conclusive evidence had emerged in the latest image.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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It's rather evident that the South Korean military are cool headed and realistic about the actual threats to their country, their alliance with the U.S., and their relationship militarily with Japan. Seems the fingercutters, feces tossers and internet vanksters do not represent South Korea where it counts. The threat to Asia coming from a belligerent China bent on territorial expansion and their unpredictable satellite North Korea demand that the democratic Asian nations stand as one obstruction to any threats to regional peace.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

All the money that Japan is spending on drones,naval exercises and US military relocation could be spent on controlling the massive amount of radiation that is being released on a daily basis in Fukushima. The probable collapse of the spent fuel pool is surely a priority and more of a threat than North Korea,no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Same old complaint about any defense related activity.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

US is a threat to Asia.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

karjaiOct. 04, 2013 - 08:44AM JST US is a threat to Asia.

That must be why all these Asian countries want the US presence as a counter balance to China.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Thank god some people in South Korea have sense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@karjai - You're 30-40 years behind the times. Ever since the end of the Vietnam war and the end of the toxic Marcos regime in the Philippines, the US hasn't interfered in the local politics of the region other than honoring defense agreements with willing nations.

I can't think of a single nation in Asia apart from the leaderships of the DPRK and China who view the US as a threat to the region. And I can't think of a single nation who'd prefer having CCP China dominating the region and stealing their resources at gunpoint.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Are Korean enemies or allies?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In today's news the government is shut down in the USA. These training s cost a lot of money I say no training this time

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This news ought to get the pudgy Un's panties in a twist. Stand by for more bluster about rains of fire....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's rather evident that the South Korean military are cool headed and realistic about the actual threats to their country, their alliance with the U.S., and their relationship militarily with Japan. Seems the fingercutters, feces tossers and internet vanksters do not represent South Korea where it counts.

Good post.

Same with Japan. The hate marchers, the harassers and the 'massacre all Koreans' crew don't represent Japan. Good to see.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mitch CohenOct. 05, 2013 - 07:41AM JST Good post. Same with Japan. The hate marchers, the harassers and the 'massacre all Koreans' crew don't represent Japan. >Good to see.

Big difference is that Japanese all over the world aren't out trying to spread anti-Korean sentiment in other countries, the way Koreans are spreading anti-Japan sentiment. Objectively and honestly, a lot more hate coming out of South Korea than Japan, right up to the Korean President and government. That's exactly why this article was a sigh of relief.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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