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US aircraft carrier reaches South Korea for joint military drills

  • September 23, 2022

The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan reached the port of Busan on Friday as the two countries prepare for a drill aimed at showing strength in the face of rising threats from North Korea. 

The US and South Korea have revived joint large-scale military exercises that were scaled down or halted in the last few years due to diplomatic efforts to engage with North Korea and the coronavirus pandemic.

Why are exercises taking place now?

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called for more joint drills in attempts to warn Pyongyang, which test-launched a record number of missiles earlier this year. Those tests came after efforts to convince Kim Jong-Un to end its nuclear weapons and missile development programs collapsed.

The arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan is part of a push to have increased US nuclear-capable assets operate in the area to deter North Korea.

South Korea’s navy said that its joint training with the Americans is meant to showcase military readiness and “the firm resolve by the Korea-US alliance for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

When was the last time the US sent aircraft carriers to the region?

The last time the US sent aircraft carriers was in 2017 when three aircraft carriers, including the USS Ronald Reagan, carried out naval drills with South Korea in the wake of North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

Security observers have said that Pyongyang appears to be readying itself to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

dvv/ar (AP, Reuters)

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