London, Nov 28(ANI): The United States and South Korea have begun a four-day joint military exercise in the waters off the Korean coast.
According to the BBC, the US aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, and four other US navy vessels are being joined by South Korean destroyers, patrol vessels, frigates, support ships and anti-submarine aircraft.
The drills are taking place about 125km south of the disputed maritime border between the two Koreas.
The US said that the exercises are defensive and designed to deter North Korea from launching further attacks across its border with South Korea.
The decision to send the aircraft carrier and navy vessels was taken by US President Barack Obama after talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
"South Korea is our ally. It has been since the Korean war and we strongly affirm our commitment to defend South Korea as part of that alliance," Obama had said.
"We strongly condemn the attack and we are rallying the international community to put pressure on North Korea," he added.
Earlier, on Tuesday, North Korean artillery shells had killed two marines and destroyed several houses and other buildings on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.
The exercise is also a signal to China that unless it reins in its unruly ally, it will see an even larger American presence in the vicinity. (ANI)