S. Korea, U.S. stage joint naval drill amid tension

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SEOUL. February 4. KAZINFORM South Korea and the United States launched a three-day joint naval military drill Monday in a show of force as speculation abounds over a potential nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Xinhua said.

The joint maneuver by the allies, taking place in waters off the East Coast of the Korean peninsula, involves the USS San Francisco, a nuclear submarine, and the Aegis guided-missile cruiser Shiloh.

Ten South Korean warships are also mobilized, including the 7600-ton Aegis destroyer King Sejong the Great, a corvette and anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircrafts and maritime helicopters, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The drill is meant to send a warning message to the DPRK, which has vowed to proceed with the "high-level nuclear test" and continue long-rocket rocket launches to protest U.N. sanctions over its Dec. 12 rocket launch.

The DPRK conducted its first and second nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, weeks after U.N. condemnations and sanctions over long- range rocket launches.

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