U.S., Korea begin Yellow Sea drills

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U.S., Korea begin Yellow Sea drills

A flotilla of South Korean and U.S. warships started anti-submarine drills in the Yellow Sea yesterday in another show of force against North Korea, Seoul’s military officials said.

The five-day exercise, which runs through Friday, is the second in a series of joint drills staged or planned by Seoul and Washington in response to North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean warship six months ago.

About 10 ships, including two U.S. guided-missile destroyers, the U.S.S. John S. McCain and U.S.S Fitzgerald, and two submarines as well as some 1,700 troops have been mobilized for the maneuvers.

“The drills started around 7 a.m., and everything is going ahead in accordance with our maneuver plan,” an official at the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said yesterday.

The JCS official said the drills are being staged off the west coast town of Taean, far south of the Yellow Sea border where the Cheonan warship was sunk on March 26.

A South Korea-led international probe in May officially pinpointed North Korea as the perpetrator of the torpedo attack on the Cheonan that left 46 sailors dead.

The North has denied any role in the sinking and threatened military retaliation against the drills, calling them a rehearsal for war. Pyongyang’s state-run Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland warned on Sunday that its army “will never pardon provocateurs and mercilessly wipe them out.”

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