SEOUL: The US and South Korea will kick off a major navy drill next week, the US navy said Friday, a fresh show of force against North Korea over its missile and nuclear tests.
Tensions over North KoreaвАЩs weapons program have soared in recent months with Pyongyang launching a flurry of missiles and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in defiance of multiple sets of UN sanctions.
The US has since ramped up military drills with South Korea and Japan, its two closest regional in the region.
In a statement the US 7th Fleet said the USS Ronald Regan aircraft carrier and two US destroyers would take part in the drill alongside South Korean Navy vessels.
The exercise, slated for October 16 to 26 in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea, would promote вАЬcommunications, interoperability, and partnership,вАЭ the statement added.
The move will likely rile Pyongyang which had previous warned against any upcoming joint exercises.
вАЬIf US imperialists and the South Korean puppets ignite a nuclear war of aggression against us, it would only advance their own demise,вАЭ the state-run KCNA news agency said.
There has been a flurry of US military hardware movement around the Korean peninsula in recent days.
On Friday the nuclear-powered USS Michigan submarine arrived at South KoreaвАЩs southern port of Busan, according to Yonhap news agency, just days after another nuclear-powered submarine вАФ the USS Tuscon вАФ left after a five day visit.
Earlier this week the US flew two supersonic heavy bombers over the Korean peninsula, staging the first night-time joint aviation exercises with Japan and South Korea.
That mission came 17 days after four US F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1Bs flew over the peninsula.
President Donald Trump has engaged in an increasingly escalating war of words with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un, trading insults amid rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
On Tuesday Trump discussed вАЬa range of optionsвАЭ with his national security team to respond to North KoreaвАЩs recent missile and nuclear tests.
It came days after he said that diplomatic efforts with North Korea have consistently failed, adding that вАЬonly one thing will work.вАЭ
The NorthвАЩs missile and nuclear capabilities have made significant progress under Kim, who on Saturday told party officials that the countryвАЩs atomic weapons were a вАЬtreasured swordвАЭ to protect it from aggression.