Japan, South Korea, U.S. begin search and rescue exercise

Kyodo

South Korea, the United States and Japan held two days of search and rescue drills south of the southern island of Jeju on Monday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.

The exercise, known as SAREX, has been held once or twice a year. This week’s drills started Monday and wrapped up Tuesday.

The preceding exercise took place in South Korea’s southern waters in October.

The U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington, which arrived in South Korea on July 11 for joint exercises, also participated in the search and rescue drills.

North Korea’s recent firing of rockets, short-range ballistic missiles and artillery shells into the sea off its eastern coast has further raised tensions in the region amid ongoing talks over the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang.