USS GEORGE WASHINGTON — A massive nuclear-powered US supercarrier began maneuvers Sunday with ally South Korea in a potent show of force, four months after the sinking of a South Korean warship. North Korea threatened the exercises could lead to nuclear war.
The military drills, set to run through Wednesday, involve about 8,000 US and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The USS George Washington, with several thousand sailors and dozens of fighter jets aboard, was deployed from Japan.
The exercises will be the first in a series of US-South Korean maneuvers conducted in the East Sea off South Korea's east coast, and in the Yellow Sea closer to China's shores in international waters. The exercises also are the first to employ the F-22 stealth fighter — which can evade North Korean air defenses — in South Korea.
The American and South Korean defense chiefs announced last Tuesday in Seoul they would stage the military drills to send a clear message to North Korea to stop its "aggressive" behavior.