The United States and South Korea have held their first joint military exercises involving a US aircraft carrier in more than four years – while North Korea is reportedly preparing for another nuclear test, the Seoul military confirmed on Saturday. .
The three-day drills took place from Thursday to Saturday along international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The exercises included air defense and maritime interception operations.
The USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam were among the warships taking part in the exercises.
South Korea also sent the 14,500-ton amphibious landing ship Marado, the 7,600-ton destroyer Sejong the Great and other ships.
It was the first joint exercises by the two allies since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office last month, and their first exercises involving an aircraft carrier since November 2017.
The exercises come as US, South Korean and Japanese officials have repeatedly warned that North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test since 2017.
And it came weeks after President Biden and the South Korean leader pledged to improve defense exercises and explore how the United States and its ally against the rogue regime in the north could respond to northern sabers. -Koreans.
“The exercise solidified both countries’ resolve to respond forcefully to any North Korean provocation, while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to providing widespread deterrence,” the JCS said in a statement.
On Friday, Sung Kim, who is President Biden’s envoy for North Korea, said the United States was “preparing for all eventualities” in coordination with South Korea and Japan as it monitored the North Korean activities.