Seoul: The US aircraft carrier George
Washington will not participate in a joint anti-submarine
drill with South Korea set to take place in early September in
the Yellow Sea, the two countries` combined forces command
said in a statement on Friday.
Whether the Japan-based, nuclear-powered supercarrier
will join the drill had drawn keen attention amid strong
opposition from China and North Korea.
"The George Washington is not scheduled to participate
in this ASW (anti-submarine warfare) exercise, but will
operate in the waters off the Korean Peninsula in future
exercises," the statement said.
The upcoming joint drill is part of a series of drills
planned in response to the deadly sinking of the South Korean
warship Cheonan in March, which Seoul says was caused by a
torpedo attack by a North Korean submarine.
North Korea has strongly denied involvement in the
naval incident, which happened near the western sea border
with the North, killing 46 South Korean sailors.
"The next exercise will focus on anti-submarine
warfare tactics, techniques and procedures," the statement
It said the current series of combined exercises "are
defensive in nature...and are designed to send a clear message
of deterrence to North Korea."
North Korea, however, has denounced the exercises and
threatened to take strong military responses. China also has
expressed opposition to the US conducting military drills in
the Yellow Sea.