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The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey transits the South China Sea in May.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey transits the South China Sea in May. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

SEOUL, South Korea — The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey has left a South Korean island after making a port visit to complete “required maintenance” and won’t participate in upcoming joint war games, a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer arrived on Jeju Island Tuesday along with two Royal Canadian frigates for what the Navy said was a “routine port visit and planning meeting … prior to the navies participating in a trilateral exercise” with South Korea and Japan.

But Lt. Josh Kelsey, a spokesman for Naval Forces Korea, said the ship departed Jeju on Tuesday evening “to complete required maintenance” at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

“This means they will not be part of the scheduled trilateral exercise,” he added.

More details were not immediately available. Dewey was one of several ships and aircraft that participated in search-and-rescue efforts after the USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a merchant vessel off the Japanese coast on Saturday.

The island port call came amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The ship was deployed from its homeport in San Diego to the region earlier this year as part of a program aimed at expanding U.S. Pacific Command’s options.

The Navy did not give dates for the maritime drills, but South Korean naval officials said they would begin on Friday and last for five days.

North Korea objects to the presence of U.S. ships and joint military exercises, which it alleges are a rehearsal for an invasion despite Washington’s insistence that the drills are defensive in nature.

gamel.kim@stripes.com Twitter: @kimgamel

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