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US, Japan begin large military exercises

world Updated: Dec 06, 2010 14:44 IST

AP
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The U S and Japan have begun a series of large-scale military exercises following similar drills off the Korean peninsula amid heightened tensions in the region.

The drills are part of the annual "Keen Sword" maneuvers and involve tens of thousands of troops from both sides, including the supercarrier USS George Washington and its battle group.

For the first time the exercises also have observers from South Korea. The U.S. and South Korean militaries just wrapped up exercises that came after an attack by North Korea on an island near the disputed Korean sea border that left two South Korean marines and two civilians dead.

The drills are to continue through Dec. 10.