US, S.Korea conduct joint drill involving aircraft carrier

The US and South Korean militaries have conducted a joint exercise involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the three-day naval drill through Saturday took place in international waters southeast of Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

The exercise came amid reports that North Korea may conduct its seventh nuclear test. South Korea said it was aimed at bolstering capabilities against North Korean provocations.

The US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and South Korean destroyers were among the vessels that took part.

South Korean media outlets said it is the countries' first joint military exercise involving a nuclear aircraft carrier since November 2017.

US President Joe Biden last month affirmed a US commitment to provide "extended deterrence" for South Korea at a summit with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol. The leaders also agreed to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of joint military exercises and training.

The South Korean military said the latest combined exercise has consolidated the determination of South Korea and the US to sternly respond to any provocations by North Korea.

It added the drill demonstrated the two countries' joint defense capabilities and the US commitment to provide extended deterrence.