US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea for maneuvers

Seoul, Sep 23 (EFE).- The United States aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its attack group arrived Friday at a South Korean port to carry out maneuvers with the country’s navy, interpreted as a gesture of force by North Korea, which has prepared for months to carry out a new nuclear test.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier docked in South Korea’s Fleet Command in Busan, 390 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The Ronald Reagan and its strike group, comprising missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville and the Aegis-equipped destroyer USS Barry, are scheduled to engage in joint drills off South Korea’s east coast, where the nuclear-powered USS Annapolis submarine is also expected to take part.

These exercises, the first of their kind in five years, seek to send a message to North Korea, disconnected from the disarmament dialogue since the pandemic began and immersed in a weapons modernization plan.

The deployment of the Ronald Reagan comes after the summit in May between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and US counterpart Joe Biden, resulting in a commitment that Washington would deploy strategic assets on the Korean peninsula depending on Pyongyang’s actions.

The last time the Ronald Reagan, the only aircraft carrier that the US has deployed abroad (its base port is in Japan), came to the peninsula to rehearse operational scenarios with South Korean forces was in September 2017, amid tension after the last North Korean nuclear test to date.

Seoul and Washington are now seeking to send a message of strength faced with the possibility that the northern regime will carry out a new atomic test.

The military intelligence of the two allies considers that Pyongyang has been ready for months to execute what would be its seventh underground nuclear detonation in its Punggye-ri test center (northeast of the country.) EFE


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