A massive U.S. amphibious assault ship carrying F-35B stealth fighter jets will take part in a joint South Korea-U.S. landing exercise early next month for the first time.
The decision comes amid calls to scale back the drills as summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South Korean and U.S. presidents loom.
The landing exercise will be more than twice as large as last year's, reflecting Washington's determination to keep up maximum pressure on the North until substantial progress in denuclearization efforts is made.
The joint annual exercises kick off late this month. As part of the Foal Eagle combined field training exercise, they will also stage the landing exercise in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province early next month.
The USS Wasp (LHD-1), a 41,000-ton amphibious assault ship deployed in Sasebo, Japan, is going to come with F-35B stealth vertical-take-off and vertical-landing jets. But no nuclear-powered aircraft carrier or B-1B bombers will be involved. (end of excerpt)
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