Japan, US Conduct Joint Naval Drill Off Korean Peninsula

Posted June 03, 2017

On June 1, the carrier strike groups of the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson worked in formation alongside Japanese forces in the Sea of Japan. If accurate, that yield would mean that North Korea is now in possession of a nuclear weapon twice as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945.

In all, 12 warships and two carrier air wings operated together in the Sea of Japan on Thursday. The problem for North Korea is that the country's nuclear program does not yet appear capable of producing a bomb compact enough in size to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile - making it a danger to other countries including the US, though experts say that North Korea could launch a nuclear strike over the border with South Korea. Earlier this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to send the US a bigger "gift package".

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) plans to conduct soon a joint drill with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, Japan's Jiji Press reported Japanese government sources as saying on Wednesday.

Two US aircraft carriers and their escort vessels carried out naval manoeuvres in the Sea of Japan this week in a show of force directed at North Korea, a US official said Friday. While experts have questioned the claim, the launch sent a clear warning to USA carriers in the Sea of Japan.

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A South Korean TV viewer watches footage of North Korea "supreme leader" Kim Jong Un.

If Pyongyang crosses a red line, it might not only be bombarded by Tomahawk missiles. However, many observers believe the likelihood of such an attack is low.

U.S. Pacific Command said the short-range ballistic missile North Korea launched on May 28 posed no threat to North America, adding that the U.S. military stands behind its "ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan". There are concerns that if North Korea retaliated with a counterstrike, the number of casualties among South Korean citizens, Americans in South Korea, Japanese in South Korea and others could be anywhere between tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

"The issue of North Korea is a top priority for the global community", Abe said on Monday.