South Korea’s military confirmed yesterday a joint naval exercise with the US aimed at showcasing its military strength had been postponed because of an approaching typhoon. The five-day drill, which was scheduled to begin yesterday and run through Thursday, had been delayed and new dates had not yet been set, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
“There will be no exercise activities today due to the nearing Typhoon Malou, and we will soon announce a new date to start the drill,” he said.
The latest maneuvers are part of a flurry of military drills staged by Seoul — either alone or with the US — as a show of force against North Korea after its alleged attack on a South Korean warship. Seoul and Washington, citing a multinational investigation, accused Pyongyang of torpedoing the Cheonan in March and killing 46 sailors.
The North vehemently denies the charge and threatened retaliation over military drills staged near the tense inter-Korea sea border, calling them a prelude for invasion.
The upcoming naval drill in the Yellow Sea off the west coast is due to involve two guided-missile destroyers, an ocean surveillance ship, a fast-attack submarine and P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft from the US military.
South Korea will mobilize four destroyers, at least one frigate, P-3Cs and a submarine, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Friday, adding that a total of 1,700 personnel from the two countries would take part.
South Korea’s weather forecaster said Malou, advancing northwards from Okinawa, was expected to hit the Korean Peninsula around tomorrow night, warning of strong winds and high waves.
Five people were killed when Typhoon Kompasu hammered South Korea last week, causing power outages at tens of thousands of homes and forcing airlines to cancel or divert domestic and international flights.
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