Seoul, Sep 26 (EFE).- The US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan began joint drills with the South Korean navy on Monday, a day after the North launched a short-range ballistic missile amid military tensions in the region.
The joint naval exercise, the first of their kind in five years, involving an American aircraft carrier, kicked off the South Korean east coast.
The four-day military was to demonstrate the “strong will” of the South Korea-US alliance to hone their military capabilities for combined operations, said a South Korean navy statement.
The two allies have mobilized more than 20 warships, including the aircraft carrier, its strike group, and several South Korean heavyweight vessels like the 7,600-ton Aegis destroyer Seoae Ryu Sung-ryong and the 4,400-ton Munmu the Great destroyer.
In addition to F-18, F-15, and F-16 fighters and P-3 and P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft, the US nuclear-powered submarine USS Annapolis is also involved in the exercises.
The two allies seek to strengthen their cooperation in detecting and tracking underwater warships amid reports that the North was pushing to deploy submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Last week, new satellite imagery of a North Korean shipyard showed that the military of the reclusive state might be gearing up to launch a new submarine, capable of loading and firing four ballistic missiles.
The deployment of the nuclear-powered carrier comes after the May summit between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his US counterpart, Joe Biden.
The United States has committed to deploying strategic assets on the Korean peninsula s in a “timely and coordinated manner as necessary.”
The drills are taking place amid raging Korean peninsular tensions as North Korea has been trying to display its military might after conducting one after the other weapons tests since the beginning of this year.
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.
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 will likely ramp up tensions again in the region.
Seoul and Washington are now seeking to send a message of strength in the face of the possibility that the North Korean regime will carry out a new atomic weapons test. EFE