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N Korea manoeuvres for US ship which buried Bin Laden
The US and Japan has staged military training exercises in the Sea of Japan in the wake of recent threats from North Korea.
The joint operation is expected to last three days as both countries look to put pressure on Pyongyang to halt its ballistic missile programme.
The USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan take part in the exercises in the Sea of Japan
The USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan take part in the exercises in the Sea of Japan
Japan's Maritime Self Defence Force sent two ships, including helicopter carrier the Hyuga and destroyer the Ashigara, to join the US aircraft carriers the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, together with their eight escort ships.
It comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula over fears the North is about to conduct a sixth nuclear test as it tries to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the mainland US.
The two US aircraft carriers carried out training with two Japanese ships
Japan and US navy forces routinely train together to improve readiness and to provide stability and security for the Asia Pacific region.
The Sea of Japan separates Japan from the Korean peninsula.
The military exercise, on Thursday, follows the Pentagon testing of an interceptor system which successfully shot down a dummy ballistic missile.
The two US aircraft carriers carried out training with two Japanese ships
The US has insisted the exercise is not a provocation towards North Korea
Last month, naval exercises were conducted in the same waters with the USS Carl Vinson and South Korean and Japanese aircraft taking part.
Washington has described the exercise as "routine training".
A senior adviser to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said it was not intended as a provocation, but acknowledged the type of exercise was the first of its kind in 20 years.
The exercise is the first of its kind in 20 years
The US has insisted the exercise is not a provocation towards North Korea
The USS Carl Vinson is the same aircraft carrier from which Osama bin Laden was buried at sea.
On its Facebook page, the US Seventh Fleet said: "The Ronald Reagan and Carl Vinson Strike Groups were joined by the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces for routine training to improve interoperability and readiness in the Indo-Asia Pacific."
The US has insisted the exercise is not a provocation towards North Korea
The US has led efforts to impose further sanctions on North Korea and has urged China - Pyongyang's main sponsor - to play a greater role in applying pressure on Kim Jong Un.
On Friday, Mr Mattis spoke of "reinforcing the international order" and seeing a "peaceful, prosperous and free Asia" ahead of a policy speech at an international security conference on Saturday.
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