Japan, US stage naval drill amid N. Korea tension

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PV International desk : Japan and the United States launched a joint naval drill Thursday in a show of force aimed at North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions dominated US President Donald Trump’s recent Asia trip.

The 10-day exercise, joined by some 14,000 US servicemen, aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem, USS Chafee and USS Mustin, among others, “will take place in waters surrounding Okinawa” in southern Japan, the US navy said in a statement.

North Korea, which has stoked regional tensions with nuclear and missile tests in recent months, has repeatedly denounced such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres in response.

The annual drill “is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American forces through training in air and sea operations,” it said.

“The exercise follows more than a week of scenario-based training ashore,” it said.