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South Korea, US conduct naval drill amid North Korea protests

Published on Jul 16, 2014 1:22 PM

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea and the United States on Wednesday launched a five-day joint naval drill in the face of angry North Korean protests and warnings backed by missile tests.

Two separate drills began simultaneously in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and off the southern port of Mokpo, South Korean military officials said.

The drill off Mokpo was led by the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, which will also participate in a search and rescue exercise next week with South Korean and Japanese maritime forces.

The presence of the flagship carrier has been especially galling for Pyongyang, which denounced it as a "reckless" act of provocation and a modern-day example of "gunboat diplomacy".

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