Biggest US-Japan naval drill starts amid N.Korea crisis

The largest ever US-Japan war games kicked off Friday in waters off the tense Korean peninsula as the UN’s atomic watchdog voiced “great concern” about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

The manoeuvres in the East China Sea dwarf US-South Korean exercises this week in the Yellow Sea that were meant as a show of force to Pyongyang after its regime launched a deadly artillery strike against South Korea.

In their joint display of military firepower dubbed “Keen Sword”, the US and its officially pacifist ally Japan started eight days of drills with 60 warships, 500 aircraft and 44,000 troops in southern Japanese waters.

The long-scheduled drill comes in a year when China has had a bitter maritime territorial row with Japan and quarrelled with Southeast Asian nations over what the regional giant claims are its ancestral waters.

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