US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea in allied show of strength

Seoul, Nov 21 (EFE).- The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived Tuesday in the South Korean port city of Busan in a new exhibition of the deterrence mechanism established by Washington and Seoul against Pyongyang.

The ship seeks to increase the regular visibility of the strategic assets of the United States, fulfilling the promises of expanded deterrence and improving the combined defense posture, the South Korean Navy said in a statement.

Expanded or extended deterrence is what Washington and Seoul agreed to this year and which has implied, among other things, an increase in the frequency with which the Pentagon deploys its strategic weapons in the peninsula and the creation of the so-called Nuclear Consultation Group, a mechanism to coordinate US responses to possible attacks by North Korea, including the nuclear option.

Last week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the coming arrival of the USS Carl Vinson, which last visited the peninsula in 2017 and is the third US aircraft carrier to visit South Korea this year after the USS Nimitz in March and the USS Ronald Reagan in October.

Its arrival in South Korea demonstrates the “South Korea-US alliance’s solid combined defense posture and firm resolve to respond to advancing North Korean nuclear and missile threats,” Kim Ji-hoon, director of the maritime operations center of the South Korean Fleet, said in the statement.

The arrival of the USS Carl Vinson comes hours after Pyongyang notified Japan of a timeframe of Nov. 22 to Dec. 1 in which it intends to launch its first spy satellite into orbit, an action that Seoul and Washington consider a violation of UN sanctions, which prohibit the regime from testing ballistic missile technology.

On Monday, the chief director of operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kang Ho-pil, said that Seoul will take the “necessary measures” if Pyongyang goes ahead with the launch, in apparent reference to the partial suspension of a 2018 inter-Korean agreement designed to reduce military tension in the border areas between both countries, technically still at war. EFE


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