S Korea to join three USA aircraft carriers in drills

GETTY    
     THREAT Kim Jong Un has been warned not to test Trump

GETTY THREAT Kim Jong Un has been warned not to test Trump

The leaders "shared the view on the need to stably manage the current security condition on the Korean Peninsula in relation to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and agreed to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue", Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said of the meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The drills are scheduled to take place from November 11-14 in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan in an ongoing naming dispute between South Korea and Japan.

Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres or missile tests in response.

The US warships will carry out air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and other training operations, the US Navy said.

This came amid the U.S. President Donald Trump's Asia visit, which was largely focused on about the North Korean nuclear threat.

Trump said in a speech at South Korea's parliament Wednesday, "Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets".

The United States has been sending its strategic assets, also including long-range bombers, to the region more frequently for patrols or drills amid accelerating North Korean efforts to expand its nuclear weapons program.

Bong Young-shik, an expert on regional relations at South Korea's Yonsei University, said: "China's economic retaliation only pushed Korea closer into the trilateral alliance between Japan and the US".

"The future of this region and its attractive people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail", he said during a speech in Vietnam at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and flew ballistic missiles over Japan on August 29 and September 15.

Though China has backed United Nations sanctions, U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.

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