Keeping in mind that just Kim Jong-Il was in China, on a hastily arranged visit, that just ended on Monday
South Korea said Tuesday it will stage a joint naval exercise with the United States next week, the latest in a series of drills aimed at warning North Korea after its alleged attack on a warship.
The anti-submarine drill will take place in the Yellow Sea from September 5 to 9, a spokesman for Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP.
"Now we're coordinating final details with the United States," he said, declining to say which ships would be involved.
Yonhap news agency, quoted an unidentified military official, said the exercise would involve two US Aegis-class destroyers and a 1,200-tonne submarine plus South Korean corvettes and destroyers, but no aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines.
The US military in South Korea said on August 20 that its flagship aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, would not take part -- an apparent concession to China which strongly opposes the drills.
Any war games involving the United States in the Yellow Sea are a sensitive issue because of the area's proximity to China and the disputed maritime boundary between South and North Korea.
South Korea and the United States, citing a multinational investigation, accused North Korea in May of staging a torpedo attack which killed 46 sailors on a South Korean corvette.
The South announced reprisals, including a cut in most cross-border trade.
The North vehemently denies sinking the ship and has threatened retaliation against the series of military drills staged this summer.
In July South Korea and the United States held a major naval and air drill in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
The South in August staged its largest-ever anti-submarine drill including live-fire training near the disputed Yellow Sea border, prompting a North Korean artillery barrage fired into the sea
Possible gearing up for the distraction.... which Israel and the US will use to their advantage to attack Iran???