United States aircraft carriers, South Korean destroyers conduct joint naval excercise

15 November, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Three F  A-18E Super Hornets fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and their strike groups along with ships from the Republic of Korea Navy as they transit the Western

The three carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz, and their multi-ship strike groups are finishing up four days of exercises in the waters between South Korea and Japan on Tuesday.

For the first time in a decade, three U.S. Navy carriers are in the same place at the same time for a series of exercises in the Western Pacific.

"I think the opportunity that three aircraft carriers in this region operating together and training together sends a powerful message", Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 11 in which the USS Nimitz belongs, told The Asahi Shimbun.

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He added, "This exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S".

It marks the first time that three US aircraft carriers conduct joint exercises with South Korea's Navy.

Officials point out Navy aircraft carriers more recently have conducted dual-carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.

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While operating in the Sea of Japan on November 12, the U.S. Navy carriers were joined by a fleet of Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) warships that included the JS Ise, a 1 3,950-ton Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer, the JS Makinami, a Takanami-class guided-missile antisubmarine warfare destroyer, and the lead ship of the Murasame-class of general goal destroyers, JS Murasame.

"The JMSDF is always using every opportunity to strengthen the JMSDF-USN alliance, and joining an exercise like this is a natural event to stabilize regional security", a statement from the Maritime Self-Defense Force said.

Ships from Japan and South Korea joined the exercise, officials said. "We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world [to the Korean Peninsula] and a nuclear submarine is also positioned", he said during a visit to South Korea last week.

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In a commentary released on November 11, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's official media outlet, accused the United States of heightening tensions in the region and provoking an arms race.

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