US Navy in show-of-force off North Korean coast

South Korean and US troops have begun naval drills in a show of force partly directed at North Korea amid signs that Pyongyang will soon carry out a threat to conduct its third atomic test.

The region is also seeing a boost in diplomatic activity focused on North Korea’s announcement last month that it will conduct a nuclear test to protest international sanctions toughened over Pyongyang’s long-range rocket launch in December.

Pyongyang’s two previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, both occurred after it was slapped with increased sanctions for similar rocket launches.

The US, South Korea and other countries have urged North Korea to scrap its nuclear test plans or face grave consequences.

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