Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at N. Korea

Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

South Korea and the USA started large-scale military manoeuvers on Saturday off the Korean peninsula in which three American aircraft carriers are taking part.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the four-day strike force exercise is "aimed at enhancing deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats".

The three carriers will be likely together in the drills around Monday.

The South Korean military will join a rare U.S. Navy exercise off the coast of the Korean Peninsula this weekend.

The US Navy's announcement came just one day after US President Donald Trump revealed during his address to South Korea's National Assembly that "currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets".

Trump's rhetoric combined with repeated weapons tests by North Korea have increased tensions to some of the highest levels seen since the Korean War of 1950-1953.

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The drill is also in response to North Korean nuclear and missile provocations, the South's military said, and to show any such developments by Pyongyang can be repelled with "overwhelming force".

Seven South Korean Naval vessels will partake in the joint drill.

It's the first time since 2007 that three U.S. carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and flew ballistic missiles over Japan on August 29 and September 15. The US 7th Fleet did not mention where in the western Pacific the three aircraft carriers would be conducting their exercises.

South Korea's military announced its participation on Friday. U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift described the training as a "rare opportunity". The last time such a convergence of military power occurred was in 2007 in waters off the USA territory of Guam.

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