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US to hold rare three-carrier drill in Western Pacific

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US to hold rare three-carrier drill in Western Pacific

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070814-N-6106R-148
Photo: Stephen Rowe

The US will kick off three days of war exercises near the Korean Peninsula today. The drills will be the first in a decade to involve three aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific.

Aboard each carrier will be over 70 vehicles, including helicopters, fighter-bombers and early warning aircraft. Numerous submarines and guided-missile destroyers will accompany the carriers. The exercises will involve air-defence drills, sea surveillance, mobile replenishments and coordinated manoeuvres.

US President Donald Trump declared earlier this week, “I want peace through strength.” Today’s exercises will be an important demonstration of that doctrine, after Mr Trump coupled further warnings to North Korea with a diplomatic overture to Kim Jong-Un.

Expect the drills to enrage North Korea. The Hermit Kingdom will see the drills as a direct provocation, which could result in accelerated missile testing and a rapid escalation of regional tensions. Despite Trump’s assurance that “it’ll all work out”, with both sides remaining resolute, the stand-off could be approaching tipping point.

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