S Korea, US, Japan set for joint drills
South Korea, the US and Japan will hold a combined naval exercise this week against Pyongyang's growing submarine threats, Seoul's Defence Ministry announced on Monday.
The three-day training is scheduled to begin later in the day in the waters between South Korea and Japan near Jeju Island, according to the ministry.
"The drills are aimed at securing an effective response by the three countries to North Korea's submarine threats, especially as it is developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)," Yonhap News Agency quoted the ministry as saying. South Korea's Navy will dispatch the 4,500-tonne Kang Gam Chan destroyer and a Lynx helicopter, with the US sending the USS McCampbell, a destroyer armed with the Aegis ballistic missile defence system, an MH-60 anti-submarine chopper and a P-3 Orion patrol plane. Japan's chopper-carrying destroyer, the Sawagiri, will also join the drill. In the practice, they will "search, detect and track a mock submarine, and exchange relevant information," the ministry said. The move comes amid reports that Pyongyang is supposedly preparing for another nuclear test and more missile launches.
This is the first time the three allies will carry out a simulation like this, since they discussed the matter in the trilateral defence forum in December 2016.