US-S. Korea conducts joint military drill amid war threats from N. Korea

July 26th, 2010 - 5:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 26 (ANI): The United States and South Korea began their largest joint war games in years in the Sea of Japan on Sunday with a flotilla of 20 ships belonging to both the countries conducting their first of four days of military exercises while North Korea threatened to retaliate and reportedly put its military on alert for war.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington departed from Busan in South Korea on Sunday. The nuclear-powered U.S. super carrier led an armada of warships in exercises off the Korean peninsula that North Korea had vowed to answer with a “powerful nuclear deterrence.

The exercises, called “Invincible Spirit,” included destroyers with Aegis-class counter-missile systems, the latest technology for fending off missiles of the sort that North Korea has tested over the years.

However, the rhetoric from North Korea appears to most observers as just words that suggest a long-range determination to stick to its nuclear program while avoiding an immediate military confrontation, the paper said.

“This is just a verbal threat, it’s just a bluff,” Choi Jin-wook, an expert on North Korean issues at the Korea Institute of National Unification, a Seoul-based think tank, said.

The escalation of tensions began in March 2010 when a South Korean warship ‘Cheonan’ was sunk and 46 sailors died. A team of investigators from South Korea, the United States and several other countries determined in May that North Korea had torpedoed the ship.

North Korea denied the allegation and called the investigation a “fake.” North Korea’s main ally China also rejected the claim. (ANI)

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