United States and South Korea begin naval drills amid North Korean threat


Two U.S. Air Force bombers flew over the Korean peninsula in joint nighttime drills with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets.

The American aircraft carrier, along with the South Korean Navy, will chiefly practice infiltrating North Korea from the sea, a drill known as the Maritime Counter Special Operations Force, or MCSOF.

The latest drills in the waters off the Korean Peninsula come amid fears of a possible military clash following the exchanges of insults and fierce rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A unit of US special forces tasked with carrying out "decapitation" operations is aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the group, according to a defense source. The embassy issued a statement responding to rumors that the us was making secret evacuation plans amid growing North Korean nuclear threats.

"Although not directly tied to current geopolitical events, our forces must be ready in all areas to include systems and personnel annually exercised in Courageous Channel", USFK chief Gen. Vincent K. Brooks said. The exercise, dubbed Courageous Channel, is scheduled to run from October 23-27. Korean and USA military officials are keeping an eye on the situation as they view this as a sign of preparation for the launch of a missile comparable to Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Monday that USFK rarely make the date of Courageous Channel exercises public before they are conducted.

Participants in the exercise perform tasks that include readiness briefings, document and passport inspection, roster updates, and limited rehearsals. Japanese and USA officials had been on high alert over a possible provocation at the time of the anniversary, but North Korea did not conduct any missile tests or launches Tuesday. It did not disclose how many people would take part in the exercises, but said they would not differ significantly from those conducted in previous years.

The U.S.is also to begin a 10 day joint naval exercises program with South Korea Monday.

The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine of the U.S. Navy, which arrived in Busan last Saturday, will likely join the MCSOF drill as well.



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