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S. Korea, U.S. to hold naval exercises involving nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States plan to hold two days of joint naval exercises off the east coast this week that will involve the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, a government source said Sunday.

   The 97,000-ton Nimitz will leave the port of Busan on Monday morning for the exercises with South Korea's Navy, the source said. The Nimitz Strike Group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and guided-missile destroyers and cruisers.

   South Korea will mobilize the Aegis-equipped destroyer King Sejong and the DDH-II class destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sunshin for the exercises. Aegis destroyers of the two countries plan to focus on missile detection and anti-submarine maneuvers.

   On Saturday, North Korea denounced the arrival of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

   Pyongyang's Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea described the arrival as "an open threat and blackmail against the DPRK (North Korea) and a grave military provocation to unleash a nuclear war against it at any cost on the Korean Peninsula."

   North Korea has long bristled at military exercises between the U.S. and the South, denouncing them as a rehearsal for invasion of the communist nation. Seoul and Washington have repeatedly said their maneuvers are purely defensive.