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Third US aircraft carrier during naval drill to up Korean Peninsula crisis: Analyst

By Nairita Das

Seoul, Dec 27 (ANI): South Korea's announcement to start naval drills from Monday and the prospects of the US sending another aircraft carrier to the region, is bound to intensify tension on the Korean Peninsula, claim analysts.

China Daily quoted South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying that eoul military plans to stage live-fire drills at 23 locations off its coast from December 27 to December 31.

The exercise reportedly would not be held near the tense maritime border with North Korea on the Yellow Sea.

Last week, South Korea's media had reported that the US decided to send another nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, to East Asia. If true, this will be the third US aircraft carrier deployed in the area, in addition to the USS George Washington, which earlier took part in Washington's joint military drills with Seoul and Tokyo, and the USS Carl Vinson, which just arrived at Guam in the western Pacific.

Analysts accused the US of increasing the danger of war in the region even though the North has shown restraint amid a number of recent ROK drills.

"Three aircraft carriers in the same region are going to be interpreted as a signal of preparing for war," the paper quoted Major General Luo Yuan, with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, as saying.

Luo further alleged that the US deployment is a "demonstration to not only the DPRK, but also to the forces of peace", especially China and Russia that have been trying to promote dialogue.

Earlier Pyongyang's had threatened that it was ready for a "sacred war" using its nuclear weapons, as Seoul held its second live-fire drill in a week.

On Friday, the South Korea's state-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said in a report posted on its website that the North might conduct a third nuclear test next year as it needs to refine its plutonium bomb.

Tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula since the November 23 when the North shelled Yeonpyeong island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter. (ANI)

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