South Korean, U.S. and Japanese warships are conducting their first exercises in five years after North Korea resumed missile tests this week, apparently in response to bilateral drills by South Korean and American forces, AP reports.
The North's recent five missile launches, the first such tests in a month, also occurred before and after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited South Korea Thursday and reiterated the U.S. "ironclad" commitment to the security of its Asian allies.
According to South Korea's navy, the one-day three-nation exercise off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula is designed to deal with North Korea's attempts to boost its ability to launch missiles from submarines.
In recent years, North Korea has been building larger submarines, including nuclear-powered ones, and testing sophisticated missiles that can be launched from them.
The exercise involves the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, as well as U.S., South Korean and Japanese destroyers, the Navy said in a statement.