Seoul prepares for joint exercise with US carrier

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Seoul, April 24 (IANS) South Korean defence authorities on Monday said preparations were underway for a joint training exercise with the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson near the Korean peninsula.

“Consultations are underway (between the two sides) in connection with the exercise,” Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence, said at a press briefing.

He did not elaborate amid speculation that the drills will be staged in the East Sea, Yonhap news agency reported.

Moon would did not give out details on how to respond to North Korea’s possible nuclear test.

“All I can say is that South Korean and US military authorities are fully prepared for the possibility of North Korea’s nuclear test,” he said.

Concern has grown that the unpredictable communist country may press ahead with another nuclear test as early as this week, as it is scheduled to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces on Tuesday.

US researchers at the 38 North website monitoring the North’s activity cited continued activities at its main nuclear test site in Punggye-ri on the basis of commercial satellite imagery dated April 19.

The Vinson and other warships in the strike group are currently staging combined drills with Japanese Navy destroyers.

–IANS

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