The United States and South Korea launched a joint naval exercise in a fresh show of force against North Korea over its growing missile and nuclear threats.
Tensions over the North’s weapons programmes have soared in recent months, with Pyongyang carrying out a series of missile launches and its sixth nuclear test, its most powerful yet, in defiance of multiple sets of UN sanctions.
The United States has since ramped up military drills with South Korea and Japan, its two closest allies in the region.
“The latest exercise is aimed at maintaining readiness against North Korea’s naval provocation and improving capabilities to carry out joint operations,” a South Korean navy spokesman told reporters.
The 10-day drills are taking place on the southern side of the de facto maritime border known as the Northern Limit Line, the spokesman added.
The US navy said earlier that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and two US destroyers would take part.