The American aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan has returned to Yokosuka, Japan, following weeks of heightened military tensions between Washington and Beijing following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
The aircraft carrier sailed into the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka military base at 9:39 a.m. on Thursday (Aug. 18), according to Nikkei. The U.S. Navy notified the Japanese Foreign Ministry of the port entry on Thursday and the ministry relayed the information to Yokosuka city.
On Tuesday (Aug. 16), most of the Reagan’s air wing of around 60 aircraft returned to Marine Air Corps Iwakuni, in Yamaguchi prefecture, the report added. Following Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the U.S. Navy had three large flattops in the region, the USS Ronald Reagan and the amphibious assault ships USS Tripoli and USS America.
“While in port, Ronald Reagan will conduct maintenance and remain ready to respond to any assigned tasking in their role as the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier,” Lieutenant Commander Joe Keiley, a public affairs officer of Carrier Strike Group 5, told Nikkei.
The Reagan left Yokosuka in late May for its annual summer deployment, with the air wing joining the carrier at sea from Iwakuni, per Nikkei. At this point, it’s unclear if this is the end of the carrier’s summer deployment or just a temporary break.
China carried out large scale live-fire military drills in the air and waters around Taiwan following Pelosi’s visit, which included Beijing launching missiles over the country for the first time. On Tuesday, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, said that America needed to push back against Chinese aggression following the visit.
“It’s very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan,” Thomas told media in Singapore, according to Nikkei. “If we just allow that to happen, and we don’t contest that, that’ll be the next norm.”