HMS Artful, the third of the Royal Navy's Astute class submarines, docks at Busan port on August 12, 2021. (Yonhap)
The Navy will hold training sessions with the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and its escort ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula as the carrier strike group called off a port call in South Korea amid the raging coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.
“Given the pandemic crisis, we will take part in naval exchanges involving humanitarian and disaster relief, from Monday to Wednesday next week,” the ministry said, noting there were infections within the carrier group. Seoul too is facing persistent spikes in infections.
The carrier strike group, which was headed for a port call in Busan, is on an Asian tour aimed at bolstering security ties in East Asia, where the US and its allies are looking to address a growing China vying for influence.
The ships already held exercises with India and Singapore and will make a stop in Japan after the training next week. The carrier strike group is led by two destroyers, frigates and support ships, along with stealth fighter jets.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org