Combined Naval Exercise: U.S. Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier Arrives South Korea

Amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, and its strike group have arrived in South Korea’s port city of Busan.

They will be taking part in a combined exercise with South Korean forces later this month.

There are three ships in total, including the guided-missile cruiser the USS Chancellorsville, and the guided-missile destroyer the USS Barry.

“The deck of this enormous supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan can carry around 80 aircraft including F-18 Super Hornets and F-35 fighters. The aircraft carrier is here in Busan to take part in a combined naval exercise with South Korean forces.”

This is the first time in almost five years that a U.S. aircraft carrier is in the country for a combined exercise, since late 2017 when North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

The South Korean Navy said it plans on demonstrating the strength of the bilateral alliance, through the strike group’s visit.

“It’s been a while since the strike group visited Busan, so through this visit, we plan to enhance the combined defense readiness and reaffirm the alliance between the South Korean and U.S. navies.”

The visit of the aircraft carrier that can carry almost 5, 000 sailors comes at a time when Seoul and Washington both declared that North Korea appears to have completed all necessary preparations to carry out a nuclear test, and as the North recently passed a law that allows a pre-emptive nuclear strike to protect itself.

“The port visit of USS Ronald Reagan to Busan and to the Republic of Korea is a clear and visible presence and commitment of the United States’ clear understanding and commitment to the alliance.”

It also comes after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed during their summit in May, to deploy U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula in a “timely and coordinated manner”.

The allies’ naval forces will conduct combined drills in waters off the East Coast of South Korea later this month.

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