The United States and South Korea have launched a two - day naval exercise in the waters around the Korean Peninsula amid regional tensions.
The military exercise began on Monday at South Korea’s southern port city of Busan. The US Navy said in a statement that the naval forces of the two countries would take part in “integrated flight operations, air defense events, surface warfare training events, precision ship maneuvers, and liaison officer exchanges. ” The statement added that the drill included the 97,000 - ton USS Nimitz nuclear - powered aircraft carrier along with a number of other warships, guided - missile cruisers and a guided - missile destroyer. There has been a cycle of escalating military rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula over the past few months. The previous joint military exercises conducted by South Korea and the US ended on April 30. The participation of nuclear - capable US B - 52 and B - 2 stealth bombers in the drills added to the tensions between the United States along with its regional allies and North Korea. On May 11, North Korea censured the arrival of Nimitz in South Korea for the military exercise and said the move was a “grave military provocation, which would further worsen the situation. ”
The North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea stated that the joint naval drill “involving the latest weaponry including the nuclear aircraft carrier is a wanton blackmail against us and demonstrates… that their attempt to invade us has reached an extremely reckless level. ”
“The risk of a nuclear war in the peninsula has risen further due to the madcap nuclear war practice by the US and the South’s enemy forces,” the committee added. Last week, North Korea warned against any provocation during the joint maneuver, saying that Pyongyang was ready to counterstrike if a “single shell” drops across the disputed Yellow Sea maritime border. “In case the enemies recklessly counter our counterstrikes, all striking forces will turn the (South’s) five islands… into a sea of flames,” Pyongyang said in a statement on May 7.