South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff announced on Friday that the South Korean Navy will conduct a joint exercise with three U.S. aircraft carriers near the Peninsula this weekend to demonstrate the two allies' defense posture against North Korea's threats.
The JCS said the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are scheduled to conduct a four-day exercise in the East Sea starting Saturday.
The three carriers are scheduled to enter Korean waters separately.
Also taking part will be 11 U.S. Aegis destroyers and seven South Korean warships, including two Aegis destroyers.
China's Global Times reported on Friday that the carrier exercise could heighten tensions with North Korea.
Many Chinese experts say that Washington is increasing its military presence in the region not only to force North Korea into submission but also to put pressure on Beijing.
However, the JCS says the purpose is to enhance the allies' combined operational capability and interoperability through aircraft carriers, aviation and aerial firing operations.
It added that the exercise aims to bolster the allies' policy of extended deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.
The last time an exercise was held in the western Pacific involving three carriers was near Guam in 2007.
Kim Hyun-bin Arirang News.