12 November, 2017
South Korean military said it's the first time since 2007 that the three battle groups of the USS Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Nimitz have operated together in the Western Pacific.
The U.S. has sent a number of its so-called strategic assets to the area - including carriers, heavy bombers and high-tech submarines - as part of a concerted push to heap pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.
"This drill is aimed at enhancing the ability to fulfill extended deterrence, based on the ROK - U.S. alliance, to deter North Korea's nuclear provocations", according to the JCS.
This is the first time in a decade three carrier strike groups will operate together and the event is coinciding with President Donald Trump's Asia visit, the Japan Times reported. "Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region".
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The Reagan participated in the 2006 exercises, the Nimitz in 2007.
Three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and 11 Aegis ships from the U.S. Navy, as well as seven warships - including two Aegis destroyers - will be mobilized in the drills staged in the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO). More recently, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.
The South Korean military will join a rare U.S. Navy exercise off the coast of the Korean Peninsula this weekend.
During his recent visit to Seoul, Trump said, " North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned.
"The U.S. efforts to expand its military influence in Asia-Pacific and the movement of big neighboring powers to contain it escalate the military tension and increase arms race in the region with each passing day", it said.