Three US aircraft carriers set for joint drill near Korea

10 November, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Phil Peters
  • John Kerry has warned US President Donald Trump that ranting about North Korea on Twitter could fuel the regime's nuclear ambitions. Gary Cameron Reuters

DONALD Trump has ordered the "three largest aircraft carriers in the world" to Kim Jong-un's doorstep in the biggest Western Pacific strike force drill for a decade.

Only on Monday, 6 November, the 100,000-tonne Reagan, the US Navy's most powerful vessel stationed in Asia, had wrapped up its three-day exercises with Japanese and Indian naval forces.

Reuters was not aware of any plans for Trump to visit the carriers.

The drills on Saturday will begin during the final leg of Trump's five-nation Asia tour amid mounting tension with North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs development.

The regime added that Trump's very visit to South Korea was meant to "light the fuse for a nuclear war".

The last time such drills were held was during the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007, which took place off the coast of the USA territory of Guam, which hosts two US military bases, and aimed to develop the ability for the three strike groups to quickly work together should it become necessary.

Such large-scale drills serve as a potent reminder of the USA ability to rapidly mobilize military force, a capability the Trump administration has been keen to emphasize as Pyongyang races ahead with tests to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

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A defense source said the three carriers will convene at sea relatively close to the Korean Peninsula.

Since taking office, Trump has vowed to expand the fleet of US carriers, even as some military strategists and experts believe the massive ships would be increasingly vulnerable to modern Chinese and Russian weapons in any conflict.

Trump may also board one of the carriers in person to demonstrate the US firepower and its regional security commitment.

"All relevant sides should exercise restraint, avoid irritating each other, dedicate themselves to lowering the tense situation on the peninsula, and at the same time make positive efforts to get the North Korean nuclear issue back on a track to a resolution via talks", Ms Hua said, reiterating China's long-held position.

The CIA has said North Korea could be only months away from developing the ability to hit the United States with nuclear weapons, a scenario Trump has vowed to prevent.

Addressing the North Korea crisis, the US President tweeted: "NoKo has interpreted America's past restraint as weakness".

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