S Korean-U.S. joint drill to come after UNSC takes action on Cheonan issue: official

19:58, July 06, 2010      

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South Korea on Tuesday said it will hold a joint military drill with the United States in the Yellow Sea after the UN Security Council (UNSC) takes action on sinking of its naval ship Cheonan.

Lee Bung-woo, the head of the press office at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) made the remark during a routine press briefing here.

Lee denied some media's reports that the joint drill has been canceled due to external pressure, saying that "it's not the truth ".

South Korea announced on May 24 that it will hold joint anti- submarine drills with the United States in waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, four days after a multinational probe team concluded that the 1,200-ton navy vessel Cheonan that went into waters near a tense maritime border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in March, was torpedoed by the DPRK.

However, the drill, originally scheduled to be staged in early June, has been repeatedly delayed.

An unnamed defense ministry official said on June 16 that Seoul and Washington "are mulling to hold the exercise after the UNSC takes measures against the DPRK, because the two sides must take into account the diplomatic situation".

The four-day drill will reportedly be participated by some 20 warships, including the U.S. George Washington, a nuclear-powered 97,000-ton carrier, Aegis destroyer and a nuclear-powered submarine belonging to the U.S. 7th Fleet. The South Korean Navy will also mobilize a 4,500-ton destroyer, a submarine and F-15K fighter jets.

Seoul formally referred the case of warship sinking to the UNSC early last month. But the DPRK denied any involvement and asked the UNSC to act to help find the truth of the incident.

The UNSC has not reached any conclusion on the issue yet.

China on Tuesday again called on parties concerned to keep calm. Asked about views on the South Korea-U.S. joint drill at a press briefing, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that the related parties should refrain from any act that could escalate tensions in the region.

Source: Xinhua


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