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Friday, December 09, 2022

US and Seoul launch maneuvers despite threats from north

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — A US aircraft carrier and its battle group began maneuvers with South Korean warships off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the first such exercise in five years, on the day Korea North conducted a short test. Will carry-range ballistic missiles in a possible response to the exercise.

North Korea may conduct more tests in the coming days, as it interprets the maneuvers between the United States and South Korea as an invasion rehearsal, and often displays weapons designed to attack its adversaries. reacts with.

The South Korean Navy said in a statement that the four-day exercise was aimed at demonstrating “the (allies’) mighty determination in the face of North Korean provocation” and improving their ability to carry out joint naval operations.

More than 20 American and South Korean ships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, an American cruiser and destroyers from both countries, took part in the exercise, according to a Navy statement. American and South Korean fighters and helicopters will also participate.

It will be the first joint exercise with a US aircraft carrier off the peninsula since 2017, when the United States sent three aircraft carriers, including the Reagan, to South Korea to conduct exercises in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests. Since then, the allies have canceled or stopped their exercises to support the now stalled talks on North Korea’s nuclear program or to contain the spread of COVID-19.

According to South Korean estimates, the North Korean missile launched on Sunday traveled about 600 kilometers (370 mi) and reached a maximum altitude of 60 kilometers (37 mi) before hitting waters off North Korea’s east coast. Some experts believe that North Korea could have launched a highly maneuverable, nuclear-capable ballistic missile with enough range to hit the South Korean port where Reagan Moored was.

Pyongyang has broken its own record of missile tests this year and has categorically rejected calls from Washington and Seoul to resume nuclear diplomacy. North Korea has said it will not return to talks until the United States abandons its hostile policies, an apparent reference to US-led maneuvers with South Korea and economic sanctions on it.

North Korea passed a new law this month that authorizes the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons in certain situations, a sign of an increasingly aggressive nuclear doctrine. Some analysts believe that Pyongyang eventually seeks arms control talks with the United States to secure sanctions relief and other concessions in exchange for a partial relinquishment of its nuclear capabilities.

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