Seoul-Beijing detente on THAAD is win-win for China: 38 North

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South Korea and the United States on Saturday kicked off a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan involving three USA aircraft carriers amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"The training is aimed at restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations and showing our military's strong willingness to act and military preparedness", the JCS said, quoted in the local press.

This was stated in the office of the President of South Korea, reports Reuters.

The battle groups of the USS Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Nimitz will successively enter the exercise area during the drills that run until Tuesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The US warships will carry out air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and other training operations, the US Navy said.

In recent months, North Korea has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the USA mainland with further development and has conducted its most powerful nuclear test.

After President Donald Trump described his strategy on containing North Korea as "peace through strength", Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the North Korean ruling party's mouthpiece, published an article on Friday protesting the drills and vowing to "defend peace until the end".

"It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world", Trump told media at a news conference following a summit with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

"The future of this region and its lovely 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.

Bong Young-shik, an expert on regional relations at South Korea's Yonsei University, said: "China's economic retaliation only pushed Korea closer into the trilateral alliance between Japan and the US".

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

Xi said the two countries reiterated their "firm commitment" to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of United Nations resolutions.

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