South Korea 'to partake in US Western Pacific drills'
Iran Press TV
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:52AM
South Korea has announced plans to join a US drill set to be held in the Western Pacific in a show of force against North Korea.
The South Korean military announced in a statement on Friday that a total of seven South Korean navy vessels would join 14 US warships off the eastern coast of the United States.
The statement added that air artillery strikers will also be part of the drills.
The military exercise will be held from Saturday to Tuesday.
Earlier, the Pentagon had announced that three nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups would carry out an operation together for the first time in a decade.
The drill would come at a time of harsh rhetoric between the US and North Korea and days after US President Donald Trump visited South Korea and Japan.
South Korea's military said the drill would be in response to North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and to show that any provocation by Pyongyang would be repelled with "overwhelming force."
Pyongyang is concerned by the US's permanent and heavy military presence in the region, including in the form of annual war games with South Korea.
In his ongoing 12-day trip to Asia, Trump used tough rhetoric against North Korea, once again threatening it with "destruction."
But, in what seemed like off-script remarks, the US president also invited Pyongyang to make a "deal" with Washington.
Speaking to a gathering of CEOs at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC) in Danang, Vietnam, on Friday, Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "dictator" seeking to "blackmail" the region.
"Every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger. The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail," he said.
North Korea says it needs to continue and develop its weapons programs as a deterrent against hostility by the US and its regional allies.
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