S. Korea plans naval drills with U.S., Japan involving aircraft carrier: defense chief

November 22, 2023

Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said Wednesday South Korea plans to hold joint maritime drills with the United States and Japan involving a U.S. aircraft carrier to bolster military readiness and show their resolve against North Korea’s provocations.

Shin visited the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier currently docked in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, a day after North Korea claimed it successfully placed a spy satellite into orbit in its third launch following two failed attempts earlier this year.

“North Korea’s spy satellite launch last night clearly violates U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban missile launches using ballistic missile technology and is a provocative act that hampers the national security,” Shin said.

Shin said South Korea plans to jointly hold bilateral maritime drills with the U.S. as well as trilateral drills also involving Japan in light of the aircraft carrier’s visit to bolster their combined defense posture and show their “strong resolve” against the North’s provocations.

The navies of South Korea and the U.S. are expected to hold joint drills on Saturday, and they will be joined by the Japanese navy on Sunday, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Rear Adm. Carlos Sardiello, commander of carrier strike group one, said USS Carl Vinson’s visit demonstrates the U.S. security commitment to defending its ally using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear.

“The U.S.-ROK alliance remains at a high level of readiness to protect the Republic of Korea (ROK) against any threat or adversary,” Sardiello was quoted as saying.

“The work we do with our allies like the Republic of Korea makes us stronger and is critical to deterring aggression in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.

The USS Carl Vinson, which last visited South Korea in 2017, is the third U.S. aircraft carrier to visit the country this year, following the USS Nimitz’s arrival in March and the USS Ronald Reagan in October.

The visits came as Washington seeks to bolster its defense commitment to South Korea against evolving nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.