News ID: 126123
Publish Date : 12 April 2024 - 21:26

U.S., Japan, South Korea Hold Drills in East China Sea

WASHINGTON (Dispatches) — A U.S. carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has held a two-day joint exercise with its allies Japan and South Korea as U.S. President Joe Biden met for talks with leaders from Japan and the Philippines at the White House.
A number of U.S. and South Korean guided missile destroyers and a Japanese warship joined the drills in East China Sea.
Rear Adm. Christopher Alexander, commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine, said the three nations conducted undersea warfare exercises, maritime interdiction operations, search and rescue drills and work focused on communication and data sharing. He told journalists Thursday on the Roosevelt that these drills would help improve communication among the United States and its allies and “better prepare us for a crisis in the region.”
In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said its director-general of Asian affairs had met with a top Japanese Embassy official on Friday and expressed “serious concern and strong dissatisfaction” about Japan’s “negative moves” during Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s meetings in Washington with Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
That followed earlier Chinese statements that said that the U.S. and Japan are  smearing China and urged them to stop undermining regional peace and stability, while saying China will “resolutely defend” its security and development interests.
The drills focused on improving the three nations’ joint response capability against North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile threats, South Korea’s navy said in a statement. 
On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a visit to the Kim Jong Il University of Military and Politics vowed to deal a “death blow” to his country’s enemies, state media said, as South Korea’s hawkish ruling party suffered a defeat in parliamentary elections.
So far this year, the nuclear-armed North has declared South Korea its “principal enemy”, jettisoned agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war over “even 0.001 mm” of territorial infringement.
If provoked, North Korea will “deal a death-blow to the enemy without hesitation by mobilizing all means in its possession”, Kim said, according to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), AFP reported.
Tensions between China and the Philippines have risen over repeated clashes by the two nations’ coast guard vessels in the South China Sea. 
Beijing has defended its operations in the South China Sea and blamed the United States for creating tensions. Chinese President Xi Jinping had a series of talks this week with senior officials from Vietnam, Russia and Taiwan.
A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson said Friday that China’s activities in the South China Sea are “justified, lawful and beyond reproach” and accused the U.S. of flexing its muscles in the region and building up anti-China cliques.
“These acts are irresponsible and extremely dangerous,” Senior Col. Wu Qian said in a statement posted online.