United States lawmaker submits resolution calling for 'clearer' message to N. Korea

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The United States and South Korea began joint naval exercises Saturday involving three USA aircraft carriers, in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea.

Also on Saturday, the USA and South Korean navies launched four days of joint drills off the east coast of South Korea.

The exercises come after the US and South Korea in their recent annual meeting on defensive policy agreed to expand the rotational deployment of strategic American military assets such as aircraft carriers, submarines and bombers to the peninsula.

North Korea has launched a stinging attack on US President Donald Trump following his visit to South Korea.

Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military manoeuvres or missile tests in response.

In addition to the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy also will mobilize 11 Aegis ships.

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Tensions have been running high since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and flew ballistic missiles over Japan on August 29 and September 15.

During the joint drill, the two countries will practice air operations, air artillery strikes and aircraft carrier escorts to test their ability to jointly carry out such operations.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy's previous training operation involving three carriers was in the vicinity of Guam in the Western Pacific in 2007 during the Valiant Shield exercise.

The exercises come on the heels of Trump's visits to Seoul and Beijing this week, which were dominated by the question of how to counter Pyongyang's nuclear weapons threat. The US 7th Fleet did not mention where in the western Pacific the three aircraft carriers would be conducting their exercises. The last time such a convergence of military power occurred was in 2007 in waters off the United States territory of Guam.

In his speech before South Korea's National Assembly Wednesday, Trump told North Korea: "Do not underestimate us, and do not try us".

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