The US and South Korean navies have kicked off a five-day round of military drills, the type of exercise that North Korea has previously responded with ballistic missile tests.
Guided-missile destroyers USS Stetham and USS Mustin and supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan will join several South Korean ships as part of the Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX), the commander of the US Navy’s Seventh fleet said. MCSOFEX is slated to last from Monday through Friday this week in both the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan, Yonhap reports.
A scheme to eliminate nuclear facilities belonging to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with tactical nukes “is under consideration when the US is going to stage a high-intensity joint drill” in the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula “with the mobilization involving nuclear carrier [USS] Ronald Reagan, Aegis destroyer, missile cruiser and Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarine carrying nuclear missiles,” according to a October 17 KCNA report.
“The Trump group should think twice about what terrible consequences the US will face due to its scheme for nuclear attack on the DPRK,” the North Korean state-run news agency said, adding that the “reckless military gambling against the DPRK” may result in the “total destruction” of the US.
Last Friday, the nuclear-armed USS Michigan submarine arrived in Busan, South Korea for a “routine visit,” the US Pacific fleet said.
North Korea renewed a promise to target the US territory of Guam with a “salvo of missiles” in the event the US attacks the DRPK.
On Sunday, US Forces Korea announced that it would coordinate with the US State Department and South Korean military in a drill to evacuate non-combatant American citizens from South Korea dubbed” Courageous Channel.”
“Although not directly tied to current geopolitical events, our forces must be ready in all areas, to include systems and personnel annually exercised in Courageous Channel,” USFK Gen. Vincent K. Brooks said in a news release.
Meanwhile, from October 17-22 US Air Force F-22 Raptors, a non-nuclear B-1B Lancer bomber, and other high profile military assets will be in Seoul for an air show, where “approximately 200 US personnel are expected to participate,” the 7th Air Force said, according to Yonhap.