Japan, USA hold Korean naval exercise amid concerns over nuclear test
Flashpoints | Security | East Asia
Deposit: US Navy / 7th Fleet
USS and Japanese warships, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, are organizing their joint naval exercise in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula for the first time in five years, demonstrating their close military alliance amid growing speculation in the North. Korea’s missile or nuclear test this weekend.
The U.S. 7th Fleet and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force said Wednesday they conducted a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the first time since 2017 that a US aircraft carrier has conducted an exercise in the region and is seen as a clear attempt to stem North Korea’s provocation.
Defense experts warn that while Pyongyang may launch a second missile or even conduct a nuclear test earlier this week to mark the birth anniversary of its founding leader Kim Il Sung. Tensions are rising in the region ahead of the annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea.
Japan has also stepped up joint military exercises with its close allies, the United States, as well as regional partners, amid growing concerns about China’s increasingly resolute military action in the territorial waters.
Matsuno Hirokazu, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the ongoing joint exercise was aimed at “strengthening military cooperation between Japan and the United States, and not with a specific country in mind.” We will do our best to defend our country. ”
p class=”td-ad-inline td-ad-inline-txt ng-hide”>Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Only $ 5 per month.
Details of the exercise will be released by Japan’s Defense Ministry “when the situation permits.”
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force said its destroyers JS Congo and JS Inazuma, as well as Japanese F-2 fighters had joined the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group “to strengthen the Japan-US alliance’s ability to effectively resist and respond.”
“Our actions contribute to regional peace and stability,” the Japanese Navy tweeted.
A Japanese maritime self-defense official said they could not give specific dates and locations for the ongoing joint exercise until it was completed.
Missile tests by North Korea this year have raised tensions in the region, including the launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile in more than four years.
Some experts say the North’s recent missile tests were aimed at perfecting its weapons technology, increasing its advantage in future negotiations with the US and securing strong internal loyalty. They say North Korea could test another ICBM launch, a satellite-carrying rocket launch or a nuclear device next week.