US, ROK begin maritime drills after missile launches off peninsula

US, ROK begin maritime drills after missile launches off peninsula

This handout photo taken on September 30, 2022 and provided by the ROK Defence MinistryROK Defence Ministry in Seoul shows warships such as the US Navy's nuclear-powered USS Annapolis submarine right, the US Navy's nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier second, right ROK's Munmu the Great Destroyer third, right and Japan's Asahi-class destroyer fourth, right during a trilateral anti-submarine exercise in the international waters off the Korean Peninsula. ROK said that the Republic of Korea and the United States began joint maritime exercises with a US aircraft carrier on Friday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the maritime drills will take place in waters off ROK's east coast on October 7 -- 8, ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The drill comes after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launched a pair of ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday, and later flew warplanes near the border with the ROK.

The US strike group participated in trilateral missile defense exercises with warships from Japan and ROK this week, while the DPRK launched a ballistic missile that overflew part of Japan.

Senior defense officials from Japan, ROK and the United States discussed the latest developments in a call on Friday, condemning the DPRK launches and agreeing that recent maritime drills have improved their ability to respond to DPRK, ROK's ministry of defense said in a statement.

ALSO READ: DPRK conducts the longest-range missile test to date over Japan.

On Thursday, at least eight DPRK fighter jets and four bombers flew near the border with ROK, prompting the ROK to deploy 30 fighters. The warplanes swarmed each side of the heavily fortified border amid rising tensions over a string of missile tests by Pyongyang.

The DPRK condemned the United States for repositioning the aircraft carrier near the peninsula, saying it posed a serious threat to the stability of the situation.

In a statement, the DPRK foreign ministry criticized Washington for calling a United Nations Security Council meeting over the launches, saying they were just a countermeasure to the joint US-ROK drills.