North Korea criticizes the arrival of the US aircraft carrier Nimitz in the South for a joint drill as an “extremely reckless” provocation; United States: Minesweeping exercise in gulf involving forty one countries not directed at Iran
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  • According to reports, North Korea has criticized the arrival of the US aircraft carrier Nimitz in the South for a joint drill as an “extremely reckless” provocation and a rehearsal for war against the communist state. A US naval strike group led by the nuclear-powered Nimitz arrived off the South’s southern port of Busan on May 11 for the drill to be staged this week, following joint exercises that infuriated North Korea in recent months. The 97,000-ton Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships, will participate in joint search-and-rescue operations as well as “sea maneuvers” around the Korean Peninsula, the South’s defense ministry said. The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea that handles cross-border affairs called the arrival of the US fleet “a grave military provocation” that would dramatically ratchet up tension. 1
    In another development, according to reports, Vice Admiral John Miller, commander of the US Fifth Fleet, said on May 12 that a massive naval minesweeping exercise involving 41 countries was not directed at Iran. According to reports, thirty-five ships, 18 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and more than 100 explosive ordinance disposal divers will participate in the anti-mine manoeuvres. The exercise will continue till the end of May. Iran has warned against any “provocations” in the Gulf as the US-led international naval forces plan to conduct the exercise. The U.S. maintains that safety of the maritime environment is crucial to the global economy and the minesweeping exercise is aimed at ensuring maritime security. 2