U.S. and South Korea Hold Joint Military Exercises in the Sea of Japan

The United States and South Korea formally announced Tuesday they will conduct naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, between China and the Korean Peninsula, in spite of Chinese government objections.

The announcement was made following a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Tae-young.

According to a joint statement, the first of a series of exercises will begin Sunday in the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.

Officials call this a "large scale" exercise, but say final decisions have not yet been made about additional naval and air maneuvers planned for the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and China, Voice of America reports.

According to New York Times, the exercises, to be conducted from Sunday to Wednesday, are to include an American aircraft carrier, the George Washington, as well as some 20 ships and submarines, 100 aircraft and 8,000 men and women from the American and Korean armed services.

Adm. Robert F. Willard, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, acknowledged to reporters in Seoul that there was no guarantee that the show of force would stop North Korea from repeating what an international investigation concluded was the sinking of South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March, which killed 46 sailors.

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