Asia News Network
Nov 28, 2010
The US and South Korea launched large-scale naval maneuvers Sunday (November 28) off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast, days after North Korea bombarded an inhabited southern island.
“The drills started around 6 am Sunday with the USS George Washington joining our warships in the Yellow Sea,” Yonhap News quoted an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as saying, adding the drills are taking place off the west coast town of Taean, far south of the tense Yellow Sea border where Tuesday’s attack took place.
The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, with over 6,000 sailors and 75 fighter jets aboard, was heading for the Yellow Sea waters for the military drills that are to run through Wednesday, Yonhap said.
About 10 warships from the allies were also mobilized, it added.
Military tensions on the peninsula have flared up following North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island that killed four people – two marines and two civilians – near the tense Yellow Sea border.
The surprise daylight attack drew international condemnation, and anger is running high among South Koreans as the communist regime of Kim Jong-il targeted civilians on the South’s territory for the first time since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Yonhap News has quoted South Korea’s military officials as saying this week’s exercises would be more intensive than initially planned.
Meanwhile, North Korea has also stepped up its rhetoric against the drills.
“Gone are the days when verbal warnings are served only,” a North Korean state agency said in a statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. “Escalated confrontation would lead to a war.”
North Korea is “getting fully ready to give a shower of dreadful fire and blow up the bulwark of the enemies if they dare to encroach again upon the” North’s territory, said the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the state agency in charge of relations with the South.
This article was posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 6:35 am