North Korean military personnel are reportedly preparing for their winter training exercises as three US aircraft carriers lurk near the Korean Peninsula in an unprecedented show of force by Washington's navy.
Pyongyang's drills are expected to begin in December and are likely to proceed till April, while the South Korean military keeps a close watch on all the developments in the region. Seoul has also placed its army in full combat readiness in order to tackle any form of provocation by the North.
"Currently, the North Korean troops are conducting ordinary field exercises. But our military is keeping a full readiness posture against the possibility of North Korea's provocations," a South Korean official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
News about the North's manoeuvres has emerged at a time when three of the US Navy's aircraft carriers – USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz – are holding maritime exercises in the region. This is the first time the three supercarriers are sailing together in the same region in nearly 10 years, making it clear that the Trump administration is determined to flex its muscles against the Kim Jong-un regime.
"Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region," said Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet.
The four-day simulated exercises, which will go on until Tuesday, 14 November, will include participation from South Korean naval forces as well.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have been sharply escalating in recent months with both sides indicating that they will not hesitate to engage in military action.
Trump, who is on the final leg of his crucial Asia tour, made North Korea a top priority in his 12-day-long trip. "We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world (to the Korean Peninsula) and a nuclear submarine is also positioned," the American president warned Pyongyang soon after he landed in South Korea.