Typhoon delays naval drill involving S. Korea, U.S., Japan
A planned naval drill involving South Korea, the United States and Japan in waters off the Korean Peninsula's southern coast has been delayed as a typhoon is fast approaching, bringing high waves and strong gusts, military officials in Seoul said Tuesday.
The trilateral drill was scheduled to take place from Tuesday to Thursday to carry out maritime maneuvering, and search and rescue operations as part of routine training that involves the American aircraft carrier the USS George Washington, and Aegis destroyers of South Korea and Japan.
The plan was postponed as Typhoon Danas was moving northward from the south of Jeju Island Tuesday morning and is expected to pass the southern part of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday morning, the state weather agency said.
"Consultations are currently underway whether to postpone the drills a few days or cancel them," a senior Navy official said, asking for customary anonymity. "As the USS George Washington has moved to a safer area and is currently on standby, there are possibilities of putting off the schedule to carry out the training."
Ahead of the planned exercise, the nuclear-powered 97,000-ton supercarrier arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan on Friday.
The training will also include the guided-missile USS Antietam CG-54 cruiser and the guided-missile USS Preble DDG 88 destroyer.
Fighter jets, anti-submarine helicopters and early warning aircraft will also be included.
On Tuesday, North Korea warned the U.S. of "disastrous consequences" as it put troops on alert against the joint naval drills near the peninsula.
North Korean forces had been ordered to "keep themselves fully ready to promptly launch operations any time," the General Staff of the Korean People's Army said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea has routinely condemned the allies' joint drills as a prelude to war. In March, Pyongyang threatened to strike Seoul and the continental U.S. when the two nations' forces conducted their annual drills involving stealth bombers, stealth jets and aircraft carriers.
The two Koreas technically remain at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap News)