October 06, 2022 09:37
North Korea's latest missile launches forced the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to return to South Korean waters on Wednesday after the end of joint naval drills.
The decision was made in the belief that North Korea is limbering up to another nuclear test.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff here said, "The USS Ronald Reagan will be redeployed to the East Sea. It is extremely rare for an aircraft carrier to be redeployed, which demonstrates the firm resolve of the U.S.-South Korea alliance to respond to any North Korean provocation or threat."
A senior official at the presidential office here said, "We believe North Korea's continued provocations are part of a sequential scenario heightening the possibility of a seventh nuclear test."
The Reagan had been on its way to Yokosuka, Japan when the North fired a ballistic missile over the island country on Tuesday. Joint naval drills between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will begin when it arrives in the East Sea on Thursday.
The UN Security Council meets to discuss North Korea's latest provocation, and representatives from South Korea and Japan will also take part.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke on the phone Tuesday and condemned the North's latest provocation in the "strongest language" for violating UNSC resolutions after the missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. President Yoon Suk-yeol is set to speak with Kishida on the phone on Thursday.
South Korea and the U.S. responded by firing four Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles into the East Sea on Tuesday night.
But that did not deter the North, which fired two more ballistic missiles again on Thursday in protest against the redeployment of the aircraft carrier. The JCS said it detected the launches near Pyongyang around 6:00 a.m.
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