January 20, 2020 09:45
The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt left its home port of San Diego on Friday and headed to the West Pacific and South China Sea where the USS Ronald Reagan is already deployed.
The Roosevelt is affiliated with the 3rd U.S. Fleet that controls the area from the East Pacific and the U.S. west coast and was previously deployed in waters near the Korean Peninsula between late 2017 and early 2018 to pressure North Korea.
It joined the Reagan and USS Nimitz in U.S.-South Korea joint drills in the East Sea in November 2017 and sailed with the 7th Fleet, which patrols the West Pacific and East and South China Sea.
Washington merely said that the Roosevelt is headed to the "Indo-Pacific," but military insiders believe it will conduct operations near the Korean Peninsula. The carrier group includes the Aegis-class destroyer USS Pinckney, which is capable of shooting down intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"The move appears aimed at responding to North Korea's ICBM threat and to escalating military tension just like in 2017," a military source here said.
Kevin Schneider, the new commander of the U.S. Forces Japan, told the Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday that changes have been spotted in North Korea's military position and rhetoric over the last few months, making it the most imminent security challenge in Northeast Asia.
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