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US, South Korea conduct joint Navy drills to counter North Korea threat


South Korea and the United States began week-long joint Navy drills in the waters around the Korean peninsula on Monday (Oct 16), amid high tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

About 40 Navy ships from both countries, including the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, are taking part in the exercises on the east and west coasts of the peninsula from Oct 16 to Oct 20, a spokesman for the South's defence ministry said on Monday.

North Korea has called joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea as a "rehearsal for war".

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that President Donald Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying "those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops".

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply in recent weeks following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang, including its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 and two missile launches over Japan, and a war of words between the United States and North Korea.

North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile which it believes can reach the west coast of the United States, said a Russian lawmaker who returned from a visit to Pyongyang earlier this month.

Source: channelnewsasia

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