The South Korean Navy has announced that the United States, South Korea and Australia are participating in navy drills in the East China Sea.
The drills, according to the Navy, are aimed at preventing “the import and export of North Korea nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and at the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding illicit and provocative actions of North Korea.” The exercises will take place for two days, according to Sputnik.
A total of four vessels are participating: two Australian frigates, the Melbourne and the Parramatta, a U.S. Chafee destroyer and a South Korean Sejong destroyer equipped with an Aegis combat system.
The exercises coincide with U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip across Asia. In a speech before U.S. troops based in Japan, Trump claimed that “no dictator, no regime and no nation, should underestimate, ever, American resolve.”
“Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? It was not pleasant. We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom, and our great American flag.”
The U.S. leader has rattled some allies with his vow to “totally destroy” North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, if it “threatens” the United States. Trump has previously dismissed DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as a “little rocket man” on a suicide mission. Kim has refused to back down, calling Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”
Trump is scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Tuesday, when he’s set to discuss issues pertaining to the DPRK with his counterpart, Moon Jae-in.
In September, the U.S. military teamed up with its Japanese counterpart at the foot of Mount Fuji to carry out joint urban warfare and frontline rescue drills amid continued threats against the DPRK. Dubbed “Orient Shield 2017,” some 1,200 soldiers in total participated in the two-week exercise.