S. Korea, Australia stage joint naval exercise

SEOUL-- South Korea and Australia kicked off joint naval drills off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday to boost their combined operational capabilities and partnership, the Navy here said.

The three-day exercise, code-named "Haedori-Wallaby," began in the waters around the southern city of Pohang earlier in the day, which involves joint maneuvers, as well as anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-ship firing drills, according to the Navy.

South Korea mobilized six warships, including the 4,400-ton DDH-II class destroyer Choi Young and submarine, as well as six aircraft, such as P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft, the Navy said.

Australia sent a 6,300-ton Aegis-equipped Hobart-class destroyer, which made a port call in the southern port city of Busan last week, and a MH-60 helicopter, it added.

"Through the drills, the navies of the two nations aim to bolster capabilities of conducting combined operations and interoperability," the Navy said in a release.

The two countries first launched the joint naval exercise in 2012 upon an agreement by their defense ministers, and this year's drill is the sixth of its kind.

Haedori is a dolphin character representing the Korean Navy, and Wallaby symbolizes Australia.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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