(WASHINGTON) -- The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and four other U.S. Navy ships will participate in just-announced military exercises with South Korea this weekend as part of the United States’ response to North Korea’s deadly artillery barrage of a South Korean island, which has triggered an international crisis.
The exercise will be held in the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula.
Late Tuesday night, the White House announced that as part of President Obama’s phone conversation with South Korean President Lee, both presidents “agreed to hold combined military exercises and enhanced training in the days ahead to continue the close security cooperation between our two countries, and to underscore the strength of our Alliance and commitment to peace and security in the region.”
A statement from the Navy’s Seventh Fleet says the USS George Washington strike group will join with South Korean naval forces in the Yellow Sea for a joint exercise that will begin this Sunday and last through Dec. 1.
In addition to the carrier, the cruisers USS Cowpens and USS Shiloh, and the destroyers USS Stethem and USS Fitzgerald, will also participate in the exercise.
The statement makes the point that the exercise is “defensive in nature” and “while planned well before Tuesday's unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK-U.S. Alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence. It is also designed to improve our military interoperability.”
The U.S. and South Korean forces will conduct air defense and surface warfare readiness training.
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