US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and its strike group will arrive in South Korea this week for joint drills near the peninsula, the two navies said
The drills involving the nuclear-power carrier come amid raging Korean peninsular tensions as North Korea displayed its military might after conducting one after the other weapons tests this year.
The first of their kind joint drills in five years seek to send a message to North Korea in the middle of its weapons modernization plan.
“By conducting combined drills, the navies of the two countries plan to strengthen their military readiness and demonstrate the firm resolve of the South Korea-US alliance for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the South Korean navy said.
The carrier’s strike group consists of three vessels – the Nimitz-class carrier, the USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser, and the USS Barry Aegis-equipped destroyer.
The warship will arrive at a naval base in Busan (390 km southeast of Seoul) on Sep.23.
The arrival has been delayed by a day due to the powerful typhoon Nanmadol passing through the region.
The carrier deployment comes after the May summit between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his US counterpart, Joe Biden.
The United States committed to deploying strategic assets on the Korean peninsula s in a “timely and coordinated manner as necessary.”
The last time Ronald Reagan came to the peninsula to rehearse operational scenarios with South Korean forces was in September 2017 amid escalating tensions after North Korea tested a nuclear missile.
Seoul and Washington are now seeking to send a message of strength in the face of the possibility that the northern regime will carry out a new atomic weapons test.
The allied military intelligence of South Korea and the US considers that Pyongyang has been ready for months to execute what would be its seventh underground nuclear detonation in its Punggye-ri test center.
The possible nuclear test is likely to ramp up tensions again in the region.