Japanese, Korean, US Navy ships carry out trilateral exercise near Korean peninsula

Illustration: USS Stethem (DDG 63) steams in formation with Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy ships ROKS Munmu the Great (DDH-976), ROKS Kang Won (DD-922) and ROKS Yang Manchun (DDH-973) during Maritime Counter Special Operations Force Exercise 2017. Photo: US Navy

Ships from the US, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy have kicked off a trilateral link exercise (LINKEX) in seas east of the Korean peninsula and waters near Japan.

Taking place between October 24 and 25, Linkex is aimed at promoting communications, interoperability and partnership in the region.

This exercise, like a number of those preceding it, is bound to be interpreted as a message to North Korea and Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Linkex will employ tactical data link systems to exchange track data among all the participating ships. It will allow participants to enhance tactical capabilities, increase self-defense, and strengthen partnerships and situational awareness.

U.S. participants include USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Milius (DDG 69) in addition to ships from both the Republic of Korea Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. USS Milius will be operating out of the 3rd Fleet area of operations where it is currently stationed.

Linkex will run concurrent with the Maritime Counter Special Operations exercise (MCSOFEX), another drill held in South Korea and joined by the US Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

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