South Korean warships joined three US aircraft carriers Saturday, November 11, in an unusually strong display of naval force aimed at North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions have been a focus of US President Donald Trump's ongoing tour of Asia.
The US Navy said yesterday that the three vessels - the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt - will conduct "coordinated operations in worldwide waters" in the western Pacific between Saturday and Tuesday.
The exercises come after the US and South Korea in their recent annual meeting on defensive policy agreed to expand the rotational deployment of strategic American military assets such as aircraft carriers, submarines and bombers to the peninsula.
In addition to the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy also will mobilize 11 Aegis ships.
"The participating forces of both countries plan to enhance their ability to implement combined operations and interoperability through aircraft carrier escort operations, aviation operations, and shooting", the JCS said in a statement.
The drills began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast. The US 7th Fleet did not mention where in the western Pacific the three aircraft carriers would be conducting their exercises.
The drill is an effort to show North Korea the country's military strength and capability to respond as the nuclear threat continues to loom in Pyongyang, reported the news outlet.
Show of force coincides with US President Trump's visit to AsiaThis weekend, three American aircraft carriers will be carrying out joint exercises in the waters around the Korean Peninsula.
It's the first time since 2007 that three United States carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific.
Trump on Tuesday reiterated his goal to achieve what he called "peace through strength", warning the USA could use "the full range of our unmatched military capabilities" against Pyongyang.
Trump said in a speech at South Korea's parliament Wednesday, "Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets".