U.S., Japan and Korea Begin Freedom Edge Exercise, North Korea Attempts Ballistic Missile Test

June 27, 2024 1:43 PM
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) arrives in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), June 22, 2024. US Navy Photo

The U.S., Japan and South Korea kicked off the first trilateral Freedom Edge exercise on Thursday, according to a joint statement. North Korea meanwhile claimed on Thursday that it carried out successful test with multiple warheads on Wednesday.

“Freedom Edge expresses the will of Japan, ROK, and U.S. to promote trilateral interoperability and protect freedom for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, including the Korean Peninsula.”, read the statement.

The U.S, Japan and South Korea agreed to the exercise during the Camp David Summit in August 2023. The defense chiefs of the three countries announced the exercise on June 2 during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, “Starting with this iteration, Japan, ROK, and U.S. will continue to expand the Freedom Edge exercise”, reads the statement.

U.S. forces taking part in the exercise are the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) comprising of carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and destroyers USS Halsey (DDG-97) and USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) along with a P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). Japan is represented by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) which is deploying destroyer helicopter carrier JS Ise (DDH-182), destroyer JS Atago (DDG-177) and a P-1 MPA. South Korea will participate with Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) destroyers ROKS Seoae-Ryu-Seong-ryong (DDG-993) and ROKS Gang Gam-Chan (DDG-979), a ROKN Lynx helicopter, a ROKN P-3C Orion MPA and F-16 Falcon fighters from the Republic of Korea Air Force.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing a release for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs Of Staff reported that the exercise began in in international waters south of South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Following the exercise, Roosevelt will head to U.S. 5th Fleet as part of the ongoing Prosperity Guardian mission to protect merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

North Korea claimed that on Wednesday it successfully carried out a test of a missile with multiple warheads reported state media Korean Central News Agency. South Korea’s JCS reported it as failed launch.

KCNA reported that the DPRK Missile Administration successfully conducted the separation and guidance control test of individual mobile warheads on Wednesday. North Korea had earlier threatened to display its deterrent capabilities in response to the visit of the Theodore Roosevelt CSG to Busan, South Korea.

South Korea’s JCS on Wednesday stated that North Korea at 5.30 a.m. launched a missile into the East Sea from an area in the vicinity of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang but the missile exploded over the East Sea after flying some 155 miles.

The U.S., Japan and South Korea have condemned the launch by North Korea. A release by Japan’s Foreign Ministry stated that the nuclear envoys of the three countries, Yukiya Hamamoto, Counsellor for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Jun Park, Senior Official for North Korea Issues at the U.S. State Department, and Lee Jun-il, Director-General for Korean Peninsula Policy at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a telephone meeting following the launch and confirmed that North Korea’s ballistic missile launch was a violation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, and strongly condemned Wednesday’s launch as a threat to peace and security in the region and the international community.

Dzirhan Mahadzir

Dzirhan Mahadzir

Dzirhan Mahadzir is a freelance defense journalist and analyst based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Among the publications he has written for and currently writes for since 1998 includes Defence Review Asia, Jane’s Defence Weekly, Navy International, International Defence Review, Asian Defence Journal, Defence Helicopter, Asian Military Review and the Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter.

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