USS George Washington to Arrive in Busan Wednesday

      July 20, 2010 09:14

      The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington will steam into Busan Port on Wednesday in time for the "two plus two" meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of South Korea and the U.S.

      On board a military aircraft bound for Seoul with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell on Monday said the carrier will lie at anchor at Busan Port from Wednesday to Sunday. Three more American warships, including the destroyer McCampbell, will also visit Busan and Jinhae ports during the same period, he said.

      It will be the first time since October 2008 that the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier visits Busan Port. It will host a reception and a number of guided tours for local residents, and some 300 crewmembers will visit a home for orphans and do volunteer work like repairing nearby school facilities.

      Morrell said the George Washington's visit is a clear symbol of the strength of the alliance. The carrier will take part in drills over the months to come, he added.

      The George Washington will travel to the East Sea for the start of the joint South Korea-U.S. drills. Morrell said the timing and scale of the drills are still under discussion.

      Meanwhile, China staged a drill for wartime emergency transport in the West Sea last Saturday and Sunday. The Ministry of Transport and the People's Liberation Army's transport department conducted a comprehensive exercise in the West Sea and waters near Yantai, Shandong, the official Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

      On Saturday, the first day of the exercise, a unit from Jinan Military Region and the Transport Ministry's Rescue and Salvage Bureau mobilized four rescue aircraft and four rescue ships to stage a support and rescue drill on the assumption that a Chinese transport fleet is under attack in the West Sea.

      On Sunday, they practiced shipping tanks from a train to a transport ship at sea using a pontoon bridge at Yantai Port.

      Speculation is rife that the exercise was staged to counter the upcoming South Korea-U.S. military exercises, which Beijing has vehemently protested against.

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