Seoul: South Korea and the US staged a combined exercise in international waters off Okinawa this week, the military said on Saturday.
The three-day exercise, which ended on Saturday, was aimed at bolstering the allies’ mission capabilities against North Korea’s provocations, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The South Korean fleet included the 14,500-tonne Marado amphibious landing ship, the 7,600-tonne Sejong the Great destroyer, and the 4,400-tonne Munmu the Great destroyer.
The ships were on their way to Hawaii to participate in a US-led multinational maritime exercise set to begin in late June.
The US Navy also mobilized the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the cruiser USS Antietam, the Aegis-equipped USS Benfold, and the replenishment tanker USNS Big Horn.
During the training, the allies carried out anti-ship, anti-submarine, logistics and maritime interdiction operations.
“Through the combined strike group exercise, South Korea and the United States have solidified the determination to respond to any provocations by North Korea sternly,” the JCS said in a statement.
The JCS added that the exercise also demonstrated the US commitment to providing “extended deterrence” to South Korea, referring to Washington’s commitment to providing a full range of its military capabilities to defend its ally.