The Arleigh Burke-class USS McCampbell (DDG 85), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) JS Kurama (DDH 144) and the Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Munmu the Great (DDH 976)  in formation in the East China Sea (US Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Denver Applehans/Released)

The Arleigh Burke-class USS McCampbell (DDG 85), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) JS Kurama (DDH 144) and the Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Munmu the Great (DDH 976) in formation in the East China Sea (US Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Denver Applehans/Released)

The United States military has a full schedule in East Asia this week, as they seek to both dissuade North Korea and show their hand against growing Chinese military aspirations in the region. On Thursday and Friday (June 21 and 22), the U.S. naval aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN 73) and her strike group conducted trilateral naval exercises with elements of both the Republic of Korea Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (Please note, the release below came out during the exercise, hence the present tense):

The exercise is taking place beyond the territorial seas of any coastal nation and is intended to reinforce regional security and stability and increase interoperability, operational proficiency and readiness. The exercise will include integrated helicopters operations, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exchanges and demonstrations, communication links interoperability, dynamic ship maneuvers and liaison officer exchanges.

U.S. Navy ships scheduled to participate include the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), with embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 and Destroyer Squadron 15; the guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); the guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82) and McCampbell (DDG 85). (Source: America’s Navy)

As these exercises have finished, the USS George Washington and her strike group are now positioned off of the west coast of the Korean peninsula for this weekend’s scheduled exercises with the Republic of Korea. The supercarrier will lead bilateral drills with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), training up on their ability to respond to North Korean threats, as well as increasing the interoperability of the two nations’ military forces:

SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) — A nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier is in position off the west coast of South Korea to lead large-scale military exercises aimed at honing the two countries’ joint capability to cope with North Korean aggression, Seoul officials said Friday, amid the North’s saber-rattling.

About 10 warships and submarines, including the George Washington Carrier Striker Group; 8,000 personnel; and hundreds of combat aircraft from the allies will take part in the three-day exercises from Saturday, said officials at Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). (Source: Yonhap News)

These weekend naval operations come after the U.S. and ROK staged the largest-ever live-fire drill on South Korean soil on Friday (June 22). The excerpt from the article below states that it was the largest drill since the Korean war, though this author is under the impression that the Korean War was not a drill:

On Friday, about 15 miles from the Demilitarized Zone, the militaries of South Korea and the U.S. staged what they called their largest joint, one-day, live-fire exercise since the war…

…More than 2,000 U.S. and South Korean servicemembers, along with an array of fighter jets, attack helicopters and tanks, were put through their paces as dozens of media representatives and more than 4,000 spectators looked on from a nearby hillside. (Source: Stars and Stripes)

It’s a busy week for ever emerging East Asian Alliances….

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Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 13 post(s) on Japan Security Watch