Japan, the United States and South Korea began their joint naval exercises on Monday amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the headquarters of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force said.

“Amid the worsening security situation around our country over the continuing nuclear tests and missile launches of North Korea, the exercises are aimed at increasing coordination with the US and South Korean naval forces and strengthening relations between our countries,” the headquarters said in a statement.

The drills will last for two days and involve Japan’s Chokai Aegis ship and “numerous warships” of the United States and South Korea. The exercises will focus on coordination and sharing information about North Korea’s missile launches.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense as Pyongyang continues to develop its nuclear and missile programs, while Seoul and Washington hold joint military drills. On November 29, North Korea conducted a missile launch, the first since September 15. North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the Hwasong-15 missile had covered a distance of 950 kilometers during its 53-minute flight, reaching an altitude of 4,475 kilometers. After the launch, Pyongyang announced that the missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, while the entire US territory was within its range.

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