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US, South Korea to conduct 10 drills this year
Wed, Jul 21, 2010
AFP

SEOUL - The United States and South Korea will stage about 10 naval exercises in coming months including one starting Sunday as a deterrent to North Korea, Seoul's defence ministry said Wednesday.

On Tuesday the US and South Korean defence chiefs announced a major exercise from July 25-28 off the east coast of the peninsula, following the sinking of a South Korean warship that they blame on a North Korean torpedo.

The two sides said the drill was the first in a series but gave no details.

"Both sides will continue to conduct joint military exercises - approximately 10 times - in waters surrounding the peninsula for the next several months," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

He gave no dates but local media said a large-scale anti-submarine drill would be held in early September in the Yellow Sea.

This month's drill was relocated from the Yellow Sea separating China and the Korean peninsula after Beijing protested strongly about such drills off its coast.

But Seoul and Washington said future drills would be held in both the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea.

North Korea has denounced the July 25-28 drill as "very dangerous sabre-rattling" aimed at igniting a nuclear war.

The exercise starting Sunday involves about 20 ships including the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier USS George Washington and some 200 fixed-wing aircraft.

About 8,000 army, air force, navy and marine personnel from the two allies will take part, practising anti-submarine warfare, mid-air refuelling and cyber defence among other skills.

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