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S. Korea, U.S. to hold joint maritime drills against N. Korea

2017/10/13 16:06

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SEOUL. Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean and U.S. navies will kick off high-profile joint drills off the coast of the peninsula next week, the allies announced Friday.

The two sides plan to conduct the Maritime Counter Special Operations exercise (MCSOFEX) from Oct. 16-26, in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea, also known as the West Sea.

The training is aimed at promoting "communications, interoperability, and partnership in the (U.S.) 7th Fleet area of operations," the fleet said.

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) aircraft carrier is shown in this photo posted on the U.S. Navy's website. (Yonhap) USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) aircraft carrier is shown in this photo posted on the U.S. Navy's website. (Yonhap)

U.S. Navy units participating in the exercise include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers -- USS Stethem (DDG-63) and USS Mustin (DDG-89).

The Reagan is expected to operate in the East Sea, while the destroyers will likely be sent to the Yellow Sea during the training period.

South Korea will field the Sejong the Great Aegis ship, P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft, F-15k, FA-18 and A-10 fighter jets, as well as Lynx and AW-159 Wild Cat naval choppers.

It's a "regular, joint and combined exercise to counter North Korea's maritime threats and sharpen the interoperability of South Korea and the U.S.," said Vice Adm. Jung Jin-seop, commander of the South Korean Navy's Operation.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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