USS carrier to conduct joint exercises with South Korean navy
President Obama and South Korean president Lee Myung-bak agreed late on Tuesday to conduct joint navy exercises together as part of the U.S. first response to North Korea's artillery bombing of a South Korean island, killing two marines and two civilians.
As part of a decision made during a White House emergency session, the U.S. will send USS carrier George Washington as well as four other navy ships to the Yellow Sea beginning this Sunday. Obama called Lee Myung-bak to "express American solidarity and talk about a coordinated response," reports the New York Times. The U.S. and South Korea will also practice air and ground defense training, according to ABC News.
South Korea is currently in a "crisis status" and is prepared to retaliate in response to any further attacks from the North.
The exercise is part of an effort to deter North Korea from further attacks and to motivate its ally China to discourage its belligerent behavior. The solution represents a middle ground between a variety of unattractive choices, the extremes of which are risking a war and the verbal sanctions which have largely failed in the past, reports the New York Times.
The artillery shells fell on the fishing village of Yeonpyeong Island where American troops landed 60 years ago shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, according to the news source. The attack came several days after North Korea revealed its capacity to enrich uranium into nuclear fuel.
The decision to hold joint exercises was made as early as July when the North sunk a South Korean warship, but the plans were postponed when China "expressed concern" over the exercise, reports ABC.