By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln led military exercises in the Yellow Sea, and air defense artillery at Osan air base intensified the exercises, U.S. forces in Asia said on Tuesday, amid signs of an imminent North Korean long-range missile test.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been mounting and there is speculation that North Korea could test its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at full range as early as this week, after threatening to break a 2017 self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests and nuclear tests.
In a demonstration of air power in international airspace on Tuesday, the US Indo-Pacific Command (Indopacom) deployed fighter jets from the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group along with other regionally based Air Force planes.
The US Forces in Korea (USFK) also said that, in response to North Korea’s recent missile tests, its air defense artillery brigade at Osan air base has increased the intensity of its certification exercise to demonstrate its capabilities.
“North Korea’s significant increase in missile testing activity undermines peace, security and destabilizes the Northeast Asia region,” the USFK said.
“While this type of training is routinely conducted by US Patriot batteries, the increased intensity of certification underscores the seriousness with which the USFK treats North Korea’s recent missile launch behavior.”
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