World Bulletin / News Desk
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) revealed the two-day combined military exercise brought together destroyer ships off South Korea and Japan, supported by computer simulations.
It is the first military drill involving all three sides since the North’s long-range missile test late last month.
While Seoul and Tokyo’s relationship is not at the level of a military alliance, they put aside historical disputes to sign an intelligence sharing deal last year. They are also connected by their mutual ties with the U.S.
Local reports claim North Korea could soon carry out another provocation, possibly in the form of a submarine-launched ballistic missile test.
“(We) are keeping a close eye on North Korea's missile facilities," a defense official was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. "There has been no indication detected of any imminent provocation, but we are fully prepared for a response."
Meanwhile, the South’s JCS has refused to rule out delaying annual military exercises with the U.S. early next year in an effort to calm tensions during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The Games will run until Feb. 25, which is likely to coincide with the timing of the drills that the allies have repeatedly held despite North Korean objections.
“Nothing has been decided so far," JCS spokesman Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon told reporters at a briefing Monday.