Saturday, 11 May 2013

U.S. flattop arrives in S. Korea for joint naval drills

The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrived in South Korea Saturday to participate in joint naval drills as part of routine training, the Combined Forces Command (CFC) said.

   The 97,000-ton Nimitz, one of the world's largest warships, made a port call at the southeastern port city of Busan for a three-day stay to participate in joint military drills over the weekend in southern and eastern waters of the Korean Peninsula.

USS Nimitz is part of the Nimitz Strike Group, which is composed of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen, USS Preble and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton, according to the U.S. Navy's Web site.

   The naval drill involving the Nimitz warship, which follows a five-day anti-submarine drill in the Yellow Sea that concluded Friday, is aimed at enhancing military readiness and interoperability between the allies, the CFC said.

   During a guided tour of the ship, Rear Admiral Michael White, commander of the Nimitz Strike Group, told reporters that the two navies perform 15 to 16 exercises a year and that this port call is part of routine training between the two militaries.

   Last week, North Korea condemned the military exercises and warned that it would mercilessly avenge any breach of its territorial sovereignty with rocket forces. Pyongyang called on Seoul to stop "hostile acts and military provocations" if it wants to normalize the suspended Kaesong Industrial Zone.

   About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty.

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