U.S., South Korea plan naval exercise

AFP-JIJI

South Korea and the United States will hold a joint naval exercise this week, a report said Saturday, in a move seen as a warning to North Korea ahead of its widely expected nuclear test.

The three-day exercise involving a U.S. nuclear submarine and other warships will begin Monday in the Sea of Japan off the port city of Pohang, it was reported.

“It will include antisubmarine and anti-air training and maritime maneuvering,” a military official was quoted as saying in the report.

The exercise comes as tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang threatening to carry out its third nuclear test in response to U.N. sanctions imposed for a long-range rocket launch it successfully carried out in December.

South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Jung Seung Jo said Friday the drill aims to test combat readiness between Seoul and Washington while guarding against possible provocations by Pyongyang involving submarines, according to Yonhap news agency. The 6,900-ton U.S. nuclear submarine USS San Francisco and the 9,800-ton Aegis destroyer USS Shiloh are being mobilized for the exercise.