March 20 (UPI) -- Naval forces from the United States and South Korea are preparing to conduct a series of training exercises, the U.S. Department of Defense announced.
The exercises will aim to improve regional security and interoperability between the two forces. South Korean navy officials say the event is necessary to prepare both parties to respond to North Korean aggression.
"This defensive exercise focuses on enhancing the interoperability between the [South Korean] and U.S. navies and helps both navies maintain a combined defense posture to protect [South Korea] from future North Korean unprovoked acts of aggression," South Korea's Rear Adm. Choi Sung-Mok explained.
The U.S. and South Korea regularly collaborate on military training events, including carrier group exercises in the waters around the Korean peninsula.
Assets joining the event include guided missile destroyers, maritime patrol aircraft and reconnaissance platforms. The drills will focus on anti-submarine warfare, communication and air defense capabilities.
The upcoming military training event was announced as U.S. and Chinese representatives met to discuss how to approach North Korea's aggressive behavior, including Pyongyang's ambitious nuclear missile program.
The two parties also discussed the controversial U.S. deployment of THAAD missile defense systems to South Korea.