October 13, 2015 09:36
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will take part in joint South Korea-U.S. maritime drills amid fears of North Korea conducting a fresh nuclear test or launching a long-range missile.
The Reagan, Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers, and Aegis cruisers of the 7th U.S. Fleet will join South Korean Navy's destroyers and submarines in the drills, a government source here said on Monday.
The Reagan is scheduled to enter Busan Port on Sunday to take part in a ship review marking the 70th anniversary of Korean independence and the founding of the South Korean Navy. It will then join maritime exercises.
It arrived at Yokusuka Port, the home port of the 7th U.S. Fleet, on Oct. 1, replacing the USS George Washington.
Among the 10 nuclear-powered carriers of the U.S. Navy, the Reagan, commissioned in 2003, is the second newest after the USS George H.W. Bush commissioned in 2009.
But military authorities are going to conduct the joint maritime drills as quietly as possible, refraining from making everything public to the press for fear of upsetting the North ahead of reunions of families separated by the Korean War.
"The joint annual drills have been conducted in the summer almost every year," a military source said. "But this year's drills have been delayed because the USS Ronald Reagan recently replaced the USS George Washington."
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