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S Korea, US cancel joint naval drill ahead of G20 summit


The US Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and the S Korea Navy Aegis destroyer Sejong the Great (DDG KDX 991) in the Yellow Sea during a bilateral exercise. A file photo by: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffrey Stewart/Released.

SEOUL (AFP): South Korea and the United States have shelved a plan to stage a major joint exercise later this month in the Yellow Sea, reflecting concerns about China's objections, a report said on Sunday.

A US aircraft carrier was to participate in the exercise, which has been cancelled over fears that it could heighten tensions around the peninsula ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul, Yonhap news agency said.

"There will be no exercise involving a US aircraft carrier this year," an unnamed senior South Korean official was quoted as saying. The South's defence ministry refused to comment.

Seoul will host world leaders including US President Barack Obama for the summit from November 11-12, in what is considered the nation's biggest appearance on the global stage since the 1988 Olympics in the capital.

South Korea has staged a flurry of military drills -- either alone or with ally the United States -- as a show of force against North Korea following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

The South accused the North of torpedoing the corvette with the loss of 46 lives. The North denied involvement and threatened retaliation.

On September 1, China launched live-fire naval exercises after voicing opposition to the joint drills.

Any military exercises involving the United States in the Yellow Sea are a sensitive issue because of the area's proximity to China and the disputed maritime boundary between North and South Korea.

China has bristled at the idea of a US aircraft carrier group patrolling waters near its coast.

Tags:

Navy  S Korea  US  Exercise  

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