August 03, 2017 11:58
The military is asking the U.S. to dispatch two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to the Korean Peninsula for a joint drill, government officials here said Wednesday.
A government source here said, "We're asking for the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group for the joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise that starts on Aug. 21." The source added there is "a possibility" that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier of the 7th U.S. Fleet will come.
The Reagan strike group is scheduled to join a joint exercise in Korean waters in October, but after the North's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile the allies are now considering bringing the dispatch forward.
The Reagan is currently in the Coral Sea near Queensland after a joint drill with Australia. But the USS Carl Vinson, another nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is on its way to the West Pacific for drills.
In late May and early June, both the Reagan and Vinson arrived in the East Sea almost simultaneously and participated in drills with the South Korean and Japanese navies. There are also talks about deploying a nuclear-powered attack submarine.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Forces Korea conducted operational training of Patriot interceptor missiles at an air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province for a week from July 23 ahead of the North's launch of the Hwasong-14 missile.
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