Seoul: South Korea and the United States
will launch a four-day naval exercise involving a US aircraft
carrier in the Yellow Sea on Sunday after North Korea`s
artillery attack on an island there, officials said.
The USS George Washington carrier strike group will
join South Korean ships in the drill from November 28 to
December 1, US Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement.
It said the exercise was planned well before the
North`s "unprovoked artillery attack" yesterday but it
demonstrated the US` "commitment to regional stability through
The South`s Defence Ministry said the defensive drill
is aimed at increasing deterrence against the North.
China has in the past protested strongly at US plans
to deploy an aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea, between the
Korean peninsula and the Chinese coast.
South Korea and the United States announced a series
of joint naval war games after accusing the North in May of
torpedoing a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives.
But one major drill in late July was relocated from
the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in apparent
deference to Chinese protests.
USFK spokesmen could not immediately be reached, but
one official quoted by Yonhap news agency said China has been
informed of the upcoming exercise.
In Washington, the White House said President Barack
Obama and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak agreed to
conduct "enhanced training" and hold joint military exercises
in the coming days.
It said the agreement was reached in a telephone call
yesterday, US time.
The leaders agreed to the war games "in the days ahead
to continue the close security cooperation between our two
countries, and to underscore the strength of our alliance and
commitment to peace and security in the region," the White
House said in a statement.
Obama assured Lee that the United States "stands
shoulder to shoulder" with its ally after the artillery
barrage yesterday which killed two South Korean marines.