Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News.

US aircraft carrier Nimitz arrives in waters off South Korea for drill

BUSAN -- A U.S. naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrived off South Korea Saturday for drills, following joint exercises that infuriated North Korea.

The Nimitz Strike Group includes 64 aircraft as well as cruisers and destroyers, said the group's commander, Rear Admiral Mike S. White, after the aircraft carrier anchored off the southern port of Busan.

“I believe it's critically important that we maintain our inter-operability with our partners like the Republic of Korea (South Korea),” White told journalists.

He said the USS Nimitz was “on a scheduled deployment” to the Asian region.

“Any time we're in the region, we try to take advantage of opportunities to train with our partners. So this is not a response to any particular event but part of our continuous engagement, much like we shared for 60 years.”

The 97,000-ton Nimitz, one of the world's largest warships, will participate in joint search-and-rescue operations as well as “sea maneuvering” around the Korean Peninsula, the South's defense ministry said.

The ministry declined to confirm news reports that the drills would be staged in the coming week along the southern and eastern coasts following an ongoing anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea.

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high for months, with the North issuing a series of apocalyptic threats over what it sees as intensely provocative U.S.-South Korean joint exercises.

The friction has somewhat abated in the past week after the annual ground exercises were wrapped up at the end of April, and a U.S. defense official said North Korea had moved two medium-range missiles off their launch pads.

North Korean troops near the disputed Yellow Sea border have been ordered to strike back if “even a single shell drops” in their territorial waters, the North's army command said in a statement on Tuesday.

Any subsequent counterstrike would trigger an escalated military reaction that would see South Korea's border islands engulfed in a “sea of flames,” it said.

North Korea shelled one of the islands, Yeonpyeong, in November 2010, killing four South Koreans and sparking brief fears of a full-scale conflict. In March of the same year, the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, sunk following an explosion which split it in two. An international investigation concluded that the vessel had been torpedoed by North Korea, a charge that the country denied. Fourty soldiers died in the incident, while six were left missing, presumed dead.

Write a Comment
CAPTCHA Code Image
Type in image code
Change the code
 Receive China Post promos
 Respond to this email
 Sacked S. Korea spokesman denies abuse claims 
Crewmembers walk on the deck of the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz upon arrival at Busan port, south of Seoul, Saturday, May 11. Ahead of the U.S. carrier's visit to South Korea, North Korea on Friday called this week's summit between the U.S. and South Korean presidents a prelude to war against Pyongyang. (AP)

Enlarge Photo
Subscribe  |   Advertise  |   RSS Feed  |   About Us  |   Career  |   Contact Us
Sitemap  |   Top Stories  |   Taiwan  |   China  |   Business  |   Asia  |   World  |   Sports  |   Life  |   Arts & Leisure  |   Health  |   Editorial  |   Commentary
Travel  |   Movies  |   TV Listings  |   Classifieds  |   Bookstore  |   Getting Around  |   Weather  |   Guide Post  |   Student Post  |   English Courses  |   Terms of Use  |   Sitemap
  chinapost search