Navy SEAL team responsible for killing Osama bin Laden ‘is training alongside troops in South Korea preparing to “incapacitate” Kim Jong-un
- USS Carl Vinson arrived at the southern port of Busan, in South Korea, to join the annual joint military exercise
- South Korea military source says heightened presence is part of plan to decapitate North Korean leadership
- Pyongyang has long condemned the annual joint drills – called Foal Eagle – between South Korea and the US
- Tensions have escalated with missile launches from North and assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother
A US Navy unit which killed Osama Bin Laden will be taking part in drills simulating removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power.
The Special Warfare Development Group, best known as SEAL Team 6, will carry out drills in South Korea, the country’s Ministry of National Defense has revealed.
It is the team which carried out Operation Neptune Spear, the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan back in May 2011.
It will be taking part in exercises aimed at removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power
An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, will arrive in South Korea today, The Japan Times reports, along with US Army unit Delta Force, which specialises in counterterrorism operations.
It comes a day after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was ‘looking for trouble’ following missile tests, and vowed the United States would ‘solve the problem’ with or without China’s help.
Pyongyang has reacted angrily to the impending arrival of the aircraft carrier, warning of ‘catastrophic consequences’.
The move is part of a growing US presence off the Korean Peninsula, and is reportedly part of a plan aimed at ‘incapacitating’ Kim Jong-Un’s regime should conflict break out.
A nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea last month for joint military exercises in the latest show of force against the North.
More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler were on board the supercarrier.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency claims the heightened military presence is part of a plan to decapitate North Korean leadership.
It claims a military official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.’
The aircraft carrier and a US destroyer carried out naval drills including an anti-submarine manoeuvre with South Koreans in waters off the Korean peninsula as part of the annual Foal Eagle exercise.
Washington insisted they are purely defensive in nature.
Rear Admiral James Kilby, commander of USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group 1, said: ‘The importance of the exercise is to continue to build our alliance and our relationship and strengthen that working relationship between our ships.’
The US has also started to deploy ‘Gray Eagle’ attack drones to South Korea, a military spokesman revealed last month.
South Korean and US troops began the large-scale joint drills on March 1.
The spike in tensions concerned Beijing, with China’s Foreign Ministry calling on all sides to end ‘a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control.’
North Korea, which has alarmed its neighbours with two nuclear tests and a string of missile launches since last year, said the arrival of the US strike group was part of a ‘reckless scheme’ to attack it.
The North Korea’s state KCNA news agency said: ‘If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater.
‘On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army,’ KCNA said.
Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan in response to annual US-South Korea military drills, which the North sees as preparation for war.
The murder in Malaysia last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother has added to the sense of urgency to efforts to get a grip on North Korea.
Visiting the headquarters of an army unit early this month, Kim praised his troops for their ‘vigilance against the US and South Korean enemy forces that are making frantic efforts for invasion’, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.
Kim also ordered the troops to ‘set up thorough countermeasures of a merciless strike against the enemy’s sudden air assault’, it said.
The threat represented by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal is the main reason for his trip to the region.
US Navy crew members run next to an E-2C Hawkeye as it lands on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson
PLANES ON THE USS CARL VINSON
The aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1982, is the centerpiece of the 7,500-sailor strike group. The 100,000-ton ship measures 333 meters in length and 77 meters in width.
The Carl Vinson has been involved in a number of notable events including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ship also received huge attention in 2011 when the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from its deck.
More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler are on board the supercarrier.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the U.S. Navy’s primary strike and air superiority aircraft.
The E-2C Hawkeye is the U.S. Navy’s primary carrier-based airborne early warning and command and control aircraft.
The EA-18G Growler is the U.S. Navy’s newest electronic attack aircraft intended to replace ageing EA-6B Prowlers in the service’s fleet.
As part of his plans to bolster the military, President Trump has vowed to expand the number of carriers the US fields from 10 to 12.
And he promised to bring down the cost of building three ‘super-carriers,’ which has ballooned by a third over the last decade from $27 to $36 billion.
Sources: Mail Online and The Sun