US, South Korea joint military drills begin in Western Pacific

S. Korea to train with three US aircraft carriers

Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt.

South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea.

The military also said another objective of the drills was to "show off the determination for strong retaliation and the firm military readiness", and the ROK and US militaries' ability to "repulse any kind of provocations by North Korea with overwhelming military power in case of contingency".

Trump said in a speech at South Korea's parliament Wednesday, "Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets".

The joint chiefs of staff of South Korea said in a statement in Seoul that its naval vessels will participate in the drills.

SEOUL-South Korea will join three USA aircraft carrier strike groups in a joint drill scheduled for November 11 to 14, the South's military said on Friday.

President Moon Jae-in will visit China next month for summit talks with President Xi Jinping to discuss advancing future-oriented bilateral relations.

"China insists on the implementation of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula, and resolving the existing problems through dialogue and consultation", said the Chinese leader.

"The future of this region and its attractive people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail", he said during a speech in Vietnam at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region.

Xi noted his meeting with the South Korean leader marked a turnaround in South Korea-China relations.

Though China has backed United Nations sanctions, USA officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.

Trump has embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, warning that time is running out over the crisis.

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