Japan-South Korea-US to hold joint navy drills amid DPRK tensions
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force reveals that joint tactical drills will take place in the Sea of Japan alongside the South Korean and US navies.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) revealed on Thursday that it will be holding joint tactical naval exercises alongside South Korea and the US later on Friday.
The purpose of the exercises taking place in the Sea of Japan is to allegedly strengthen cooperation between the navies of the three countries.
The official statement read that "The JMSDF will conduct a trilateral exercise with the US Navy (USN) and the Republic of Korean Navy (ROKN) in order to strengthen cooperation and to realize a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific," adding that the drills also target developing countermeasures against submarines.
The statement revealed that the vessels that will be involved in the training are the Japanese Asahi-class destroyer, the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the US destroyers USS Barry and Benfold, the US missile cruiser Chancellorsville, and a US nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarine, as well as the South Korean Mun Mu Daewang combat ship.
US and South Korea conduct maritime drills
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, and the USS Barry, a guided missile destroyer, which anchored in Busan, South Korea on September 23, were taking part in military drills with the South Korean maritime forces on Monday, September 26.
The drills come after a day after the DPRK allegedly launched a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The drills will take place over the course of four days and are aimed to demonstrate the allies' “powerful resolve to respond to North Korean [DPRK] provocations” and advance their ability to conduct joint naval operations, according to a statement from the South Korean navy.
In addition to the US naval vessels aforementioned, the South Korean navy stated that more than 20 US and South Korean navy ships were mobilized for the drills, alongside US and South Korean fighter jets and helicopters that will also take part in the training.
USS Zumwalt sails in the Western Pacific
Earlier Tuesday, former US Navy captain and analyst Carl Schuster revealed that the US navy's most advanced surface warship, the USS Zumwalt, is conducting a mission in the western Pacific that might pave the way for the future stationing of US hypersonic missiles in the area.
According to Schuster “The presence of a stealth warship will draw a great deal of [Chinese] interest,” particularly if the Zumwalt is armed with hypersonic missiles.
The USS Zumwalt is one of three multi-mission guided missile destroyers in a class that the Navy claims would “create a new level of battlespace complexity for potential adversaries.”