United States and South Korea conduct joint naval maneuvers
“This exercise was prepared to demonstrate the strong will of the South Korea-US alliance to respond to North Korean provocations,” the South Korean navy said.
South Korea and the United States began their first combined naval exercises in five years near the Korean peninsula on Monday the day after the launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea, which accused the two countries of ” set fire to the powder”.
The United States is the main security ally of South Korea, where some 28,500 American soldiers are stationed to protect the country against its nuclear-armed neighbor to the north.
South Korea's conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, who came to power in May, is seeking to bolster this military alliance after failed attempts at diplomatic rapprochement with Pyongyang by the previous government.
This exercise was prepared to demonstrate the strong will of the South Korea-US alliance to respond to North Korean provocations, the South Korean navy said in a statement.
The exercises, lasting four days, mobilize more than twenty ships, including the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, as well as significant air assets.
They will consist of naval combat and anti-submarine warfare simulations in tactical maneuvers and other maritime operations, the Navy said.
These exercises begin the day after a ballistic missile test by Pyongyang, the latest in a long series that began several months ago.
South Korea North, under international sanctions for its weapons programs, adopted a new doctrine in early September that proclaims it will never renounce nuclear weapons.
Its ambassador to the UN Kim Song, speaking on behalf of his country at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, denounced exercises that raise concerns around the Korean peninsula.
Obviously, this is an extremely dangerous act that ignites the flames and risks dragging the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war, he added.
Asked about the North Korean shooting on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China took note of the event, as well as the recent holding of military exercises co-organized by the United States in the region.
The main crux of the matter that explains the current situation on the Korean Peninsula is that [North Korea's] legitimate and reasonable concerns have not been duly addressed into account, he argued at a routine press conference.
Beijing has already called on Washington several times to concretely reassure Pyongyang about its security.< /p>
We hope all stakeholders […] will stick to a political settlement and resolve each other's concerns in a balanced manner through dialogue and consultation, Wang Wenbin said.
The United States must assume its responsibilities, end the confrontation and the pressure and create the conditions necessary for the resumption of a meaningful dialogue, he said. – he insisted.
Washington and Seoul have long conducted joint military exercises. Both allies insist on the purely defensive nature of these exercises, but North Korea sees them as dress rehearsals for a future invasion of its territory.
Last month, the States The United States and South Korea conducted their largest joint military drills since 2018. Those drills had been scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a now-completed diplomatic warm-up between Seoul and Pyongyang.< /p>