|South Korean Sejong the Great class Destroyer|
The United States, South Korea and Japan have started joint naval missile defense exercises to practice countering the ballistic missile threat from North Korea, South Korean media said Tuesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The trilateral missile warning drill is taking place in the Sea of Japan, with South Korea's Sejong the Great, Japan's Kirishima and US Curtis Wilbur guided missile destroyers taking part, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean navy.
The exercises will conclude on Wednesday, according to the outlet.
The drills come just two weeks after fresh North Korean ballistic missile tests. On March 6, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles, explaining a day later that the launches were a test of its ability to strike US military facilities located in Japan.
Last year, North Korea carried out two nuclear tests and over two dozen of test launches using ballistic missile technology. Previously, the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea for three nuclear tests it carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
The UN Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions imposing restrictions on North Korea in order to make Pyongyang halt its nuclear and missile activities.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005. The United States, Japan and South Korea, as well as Russia and China, took part in talks with North Korea on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula between 2003 and 2009, when Pyongyang withdrew from the talks.
The annual US-South Korean Foal Eagle field training exercises are taking place simultaneously and are set to last until late April. The exercises are also aimed at deterring North Korean aggression. The move was criticized by Pyongyang, as it considers the exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.
This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.