S Korea, US to hold joint naval drill
South Korea has announced plans to hold a joint naval exercise with the US in the Yellow Sea amid China’s decision to stage a military maneuver in the same area.
The anti-submarine drill will take place off the west coast of the Korean peninsula from September 5 to September 9.
“Now we’re coordinating the final details with the United States,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted as saying by AFP on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s state-run Yonhap news agency said the exercise would involve two US Aegis-class destroyers, a 1,200-ton submarine, plus South Korean corvettes and destroyers. The agency added that no aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines would be used in the drill.
Beijing has described the move as destabilizing, vowing to stage a naval drill from Wednesday to Sunday in the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean peninsula.
“This is an annual routine training exercise, mainly involving the firing of shipboard artillery,” Xinhua news agency quoted China’s Ministry of Defense as saying.
The joint drill by the US and South Korea is believed to be a warning against North Korea over its alleged attack on a South Korean warship.
Tensions have intensified on the Korean peninsula since the sinking of a South Korean warship earlier in March.
Seoul has blamed a North Korean torpedo for the incident, which left 46 sailors dead.
The North, however, has rejected the claim as “smear campaign,” insisting that its navy did not torpedo the South Korean ship.