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U.S. aircraft carrier makes port call in S. Korea

2013/10/04 10:30

BUSAN, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and guided-missile warships arrived in South Korea's southern port of Busan Friday, as part of the routine port call on the peninsula involving joint maritime exercises next week, the U.S. Forces Korea said.

The nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington, guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and guide-missile destroyer USS Preble arrived in the nation's largest port for a four-day visit, the USFK said.

The George Washington Strike Group, belonging to the U.S. 7th Fleet, is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. It has approximately 6,000 sailors assigned to its ships, including embarked battle staff, a carrier air wing and the ship's company personnel.

U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington makes a port call at the South Korean coastal city of Busan on Oct. 4, 2013. (Yonhap)

The U.S. Navy personnel will attend cultural exchange events with South Korean sailors and citizens during their visit here, and jointly carry out naval drills with South Korean and Japanese forces of the Korean Peninsula's southern coast next week, military officials said.

The trilateral drills slated from Oct. 8-10 will also involve Aegis destroyers and maritime aircraft of South Korea and Japan to carry out maritime maneuvering and search and rescue operations.

Separately, the South Korean Navy and the Marine Corps on Thursday began their 10-day training to practice landing operations on the eastern coast and in the East Sea, along with one U.S. Marine Corps battalion, the Navy said. It will last until Oct. 12.

This year's training mobilizes about 10 warships, 3,000 Marines and 30 armored vehicles as well as 20 aircraft, the Navy said.

North Korea has routinely issued statements that condemn the U.S. military bringing its high-profile ships near its waters.

The U.S. Navy's presence in Busan, some 450 kilometers south of Seoul, is expected to grow in the coming years as the U.S. Naval Forces Korea broke ground for a new headquarters facilities on a South Korean naval base in the city in August.

The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

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