If North Korea is proven to have fired shots through the area, this would constitute a breach of the armistice agreement.
The exercise features the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt and includes air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers and other training, Navy officials said.
"I've never seen such injuries outside of a textbook in more than 20 years of my career", Lee Cook-jong, the surgeon in charge of the soldier, said at a media briefing.
The soldier, who was not armed, was flown in a U.N. Command helicopter to an operating theatre where doctors began working to save him even before he was out of a uniform that indicated he held a lower rank, Suh said.
"Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region", Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.
"There's no big message" intended for North Korea or anyone else, he told reporters in an impromptu exchange in a Pentagon hallway. Its military had not given any indication of unusual movements on Tuesday, the South's military said.
Seoul: North Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South
The Joint Security Area was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there hasn't been major violence there in recent years.
The United States has said that all options, including military, are on the table to deal with North Korea, although its preference is for a diplomatic solution.
A North Korean soldier defected there in 1998 and another in 2007 but neither of those events involved gunfire between the rivals, according to South Korea's military.
The 58-year-old American, identified as only as "A" and reportedly from the US state of Louisiana, was arrested by South Korean police at midnight on Monday (9.55am local time) after he crossed over the Civilian Control Line (CCL) near the North Korean border.
The UN Security Council has unanimously ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs since 2006. He breaks down at the thought that his young son could be punished in the same way. "Someone would steal food because they were hungry and they would be beaten to death. of 3,000 inmates on average, about three a day would die".
An official said: "If it is determined that a US citizen has been detained, the US embassy will provide appropriate consular services".
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