Korea, China mend ties, reaffirm efforts to denuclearize N. Korea

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The United States and South Korea began joint naval exercises Saturday involving three USA aircraft carriers, in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea.

Instead, the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) will be "deployed rotationally and sequentially" to carry out joint exercises with warships from the ROKN.

The drill is also in response to North Korean nuclear and missile provocations, the South's military said, and to show any such developments by Pyongyang can be repelled with "overwhelming force".

Seoul and Beijing also agreed to swiftly restore bilateral exchanges in all fields based on their recent agreement to normalize relations following a period of conflict over South Korea's deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

The objective of the exercise was to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to "operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force efforts", the navy said, adding that the three carrier strike groups will conduct training including "air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuver".

This came amid the U.S. President Donald Trump's Asia visit, which was largely focused on about the North Korean nuclear threat.

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At a summit in Seoul Tuesday, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In agreed to increase the deployment of USA military assets around the Korean peninsula to step up pressure on the North.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region.

A flurry of missile tests from North Korea this year have raised the likelihood of South Korea using the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system - something China has vehemently opposed.

Trump has embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, warning that time is running out over the crisis.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Saturday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the two compared notes on bilateral ties and the Korean Peninsula situation.

Though China has backed United Nations sanctions, USA officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.

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