October 26, 2017 09:52
Another nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, has been deployed to the western Pacific, according to the U.S. Navy on Tuesday. The USS Ronald Reagan is already docking at Busan.
It is uncertain whether the Roosevelt will head straight for Korean waters as well, but its presence reflects heightened tensions amid an escalating war of words between the U.S. and North Korea.
The western Pacific is controlled by the 7th U.S. Fleet along with the Indian Ocean.
The Roosevelt is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that carries about 80 aircraft, including FA-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets.
It sailed from its home port of San Diego on Oct. 6 and is surrounded by a strike group or "armada" belonging to the 3rd U.S. Fleet that controls from the eastern Pacific to the U.S. west coast.
"Amid the growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, the scope of U.S. naval strategic assets available for mobilization in Korean waters has been extended to include the 3rd U.S. Fleet," a source said.
The U.S. military has ramped up pressure on the North by sending B-1 strategic bombers to the Korean Peninsula and putting the Reagan strike group in Korean waters for an extended period. Early next month, 12 F-35A stealth fighter jets will be deployed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan on a rotational basis for the next six months.
The deployments are aimed at deterring the North from carrying out fresh provocations ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to South Korea on Nov. 7-8. as part of his first Asian tour.
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