South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that its naval forces launched a joint maritime drill with the United States and Japan in waters off the Korean Peninsula amid mounting tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"SAREX training exercises, which were delayed due to typhoon, will be staged from today to tomorrow," Wi Yong-seop, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense
, told a press briefing.
The spokesman said that the drill, which contains a US aircraft carrier, would be carried out for a humanitarian purpose, not for the military one, to help search and rescue wrecked ships effectively.
The 97,000-ton, nuclear-powered super-carrier USGeorge Washington arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan last week to conduct joint drills with Seoul and Tokyo. The exercise was originally scheduled to be staged for three days from Tuesday, but it was postponed due to bad weather.
The training would include Aegis destroyers of South Korea and Japan along with the US super-carrier, which is capable of loading some 70 units of fighter jet, anti-submarine helicopter and early warning aircraft.
The joint drill came amid escalating tensions on the peninsula after Pyongyang placed all military forces on full alert in protest against the joint naval maneuver. The DPRK also slammed a joint strategy signed between Seoul and Washington last week that will allow the allies to take preemptive strikes against the impending nuclear attacks from Pyongyang.