BUSAN, South Korea A massive nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier readied Saturday for maneuvers with ally South Korea in a potent show of force that North Korea has threatened could lead to sacred war.
The military drills, code-named Invincible Spirit, are to run today through Wednesday with about 8,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The Nimitz-class USS George Washington, with several thousand sailors and dozens of fighters aboard, was deployed from Japan.
The North routinely threatens attacks whenever South Korea and the U.S. hold joint military drills, which Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for an invasion. The U.S. keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea and another 50,000 in Japan, but says it has no intention of invading the North.
Still, the Norths latest rhetoric threatening nuclear deterrence and sacred war carries extra weight after the sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors. Seoul and Washington say a North Korean torpedo was responsible for the March sinking of the Cheonan.