14:45 GMT29 November 2020
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    The military exercises will last for three days and involve a Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Olympia (SSN-717), equipped with the Tomahawk long-range missiles.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – A US-South Korean joint naval drill involving a US nuclear-powered submarine began in the Sea of Japan Thursday, amid ongoing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

    The military exercises will last for three days and involve a Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Olympia (SSN-717), equipped with the Tomahawk long-range missiles, South Korean media outlets reported.

    In the same day, the South Korean Air force launched a two-week aerial exercise "Soaring Eagle," mobilizing 40 planes and 320 service members, according to the Yonhap news agency.

    RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle
    © AP Photo / Northrop Grumman via U.S. Navy, Erik Hildebrandt
    On Monday, spokesman for the US Defense Department Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool said that this year's US-South Korean exercise would allow the two countries to discuss potential responses to threats posed by North Korean weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.

    Pyongyang has repeatedly condemned large scale war games South Korea holds jointly with the United States, claiming they are invasion rehearsals and that they escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    On January 14, North Korea proposed that Washington suspend the joint military drills conducted every year with South Korea and, in response, they would temporarily halt nuclear testing.

    North and South Korea are technically in a state of war, and have been since the cessation of hostilities in 1953. No formal peace treaty was signed at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

    Long-term tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated earlier in February, when Pyongyang accused Seoul and Washington of rejecting an invitation to visit the country and pointing out the Southern allies' unwillingness to resume denuclearization talks.


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