The Pentagon said on Wednesday the drill involving three aircraft carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific would be carried out for the first time in a decade, confirming a Reuters report.
The US Navy's announcement came just one day after US President Donald Trump revealed during his address to South Korea's National Assembly that "currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets". Eleven Aegis destroyers of the U.S. Navy are also taking part.
"This drill is aimed at enhancing the ability to fulfill extended deterrence, based on the ROK - U.S. alliance, to deter North Korea's nuclear provocations", according to the JCS.
The exercises will also involve 11 U.S. Aegis ships and seven South Korean naval vessels, including two Aegis ships.
Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres or missile tests in response.
The defense ministry, however, has ruled out the possibility of trilateral military drills with Japan.
Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in global waters to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.
Show of force coincides with US President Trump's visit to AsiaThis weekend, three American aircraft carriers will be carrying out joint exercises in the waters around the Korean Peninsula. U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift described the training as a "rare opportunity". They will successively enter the exercise area in worldwide waters east of the Korean Peninsula over the weekend, and at one point around Monday will operate together. It also flew two new midrange missiles over Japan and threatened to launch them toward Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.