Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at North Korea

Above, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier arrives in the South Korean port city of Busan on October 21. The USS Ronald Reagan joins two other flattops — USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt — in a four-day joint exercise in the western Pacific. (Yonhap/AFP)
Updated 11 November 2017
0

Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at North Korea

SEOUL:: South Korean warships joined three US aircraft carriers Saturday in an unusually strong display of naval force aimed at North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions have been a focus of US President Donald Trump’s ongoing tour of Asia.
The four-day joint exercise in the western Pacific involves three flattops — USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt — and seven South Korean warships including three destroyers, Seoul’s defense ministry said.
It is the first such triple-carrier drill in the region for a decade.
“The exercise is aimed at enhancing deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and showing off preparedness to fend off any provocative acts by the North,” a ministry spokesman said.
Nuclear-armed North Korea regularly denounces such military drills as rehearsals for invasion and sometimes conducts its own military maneuvers or missile tests in response.
The US warships will carry out air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and other training operations, the US Navy said.
The exercises come on the heels of Trump’s visits to Seoul and Beijing this week, which were dominated by the question of how to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons threat.
At a summit in Seoul Tuesday, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In agreed to increase the deployment of US military assets around the Korean peninsula to step up pressure on the North.
Trump also warned North Korea not to underestimate the United States in a speech to the South Korean parliament on Wednesday, while offering leader Kim Jong-Un a better future if he gives up his nuclear ambitions.
He said Friday the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the “twisted fantasies” of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as he called on countries to stand united against Pyongyang.
Trump has embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, warning that time is running out over the crisis.
“The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator’s twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail,” he said during a speech in Vietnam at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
During talks in Beijing Thursday, Trump urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to work hard and act fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, warning that “time is quickly running out.”
The US administration thinks China’s economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Xi said the two countries reiterated their “firm commitment” to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of UN resolutions.
Xi repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the “pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula.”
Though China has backed UN sanctions, US officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorized trade along the North Korean border.
But experts doubt China will take the kind of steps that Trump wants, such as halting crude oil exports to the North.
Beijing fears that squeezing Pyongyang too hard could cause the regime to collapse, sending an influx of refugees across its border and placing the US army at its doorstep.


French tourist shot dead in Bangkok by off-duty Thai cop

Updated 12 December 2018
0

French tourist shot dead in Bangkok by off-duty Thai cop

  • The Parisian was shot dead at a downtown apartment block after an altercation with a police sergeant major
  • Policeman followed him back to his place and shot him twice

BANGKOK, Thailand: A French tourist was gunned down early Wednesday by an off-duty Thai cop after a drunken bar fight in a seedy Bangkok district, police said.
The 41-year-old Parisian was shot dead at a downtown apartment block after an altercation with the police sergeant major who had approached the tourist’s Thai girlfriend.
“They were drunk... they started to argue and then had a fist fight but the policeman couldn’t fight back,” the Chief of Thailand’s Immigration Police Surachate Hakpan told AFP.
“The policeman followed him back to his place and shot him twice,” he said, adding the victim had been in Thailand for several months.
The officer has been arrested and “will be fired... and prosecuted on a murder charge,” Surachate added.
Police are hunting a second suspect seen on CCTV.
Gruesome pictures circulated on Thai media showed the victim lying in a pool of blood in front of a doughnut shop at his apartment block.
Bangkok is one of the world’s most visited cities, famed for its food and racy nightlife, much of it around Nana district where the murder took place.
Thailand has a grim reputation for its gun culture, with drunken arguments, business disputes and soured romances frequently resolved by violence.