US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea as warning to North Korea

A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Friday for the first time in about four years and will join other warships in a show of force aimed at sending a message to North Korea, officials said.

The USS Ronald Reagan and its accompanying ships of the strike group docked at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan.

Its arrival marks the most significant development yet under renewed pressure to operate more US “strategic assets” in the region to deter North Korea.

The strike group commander, Rear Admiral Michael Donnelly, told reporters on board the ship that the visit had been planned for some time and was aimed at building ties with South Korea’s allies and increasing interoperability between the navies. said.

When asked about any signals to North Korea, he said he was “leaving a message for diplomats” but added that the joint exercise was designed to ensure allies are ready to respond to threats anytime, anywhere. .

The US has recently pushed to operate more “strategic assets” to deter North Korea.

“It’s an opportunity to practice tactics and tactics,” Donnelly said.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called for more joint exercises and other military displays as a warning to North Korea.

Observers say Pyongyang also appears to be preparing to reopen Nuclear test First time since 2017.

A crew member stands in front of a US Navy F/A-18 fighter jet on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan docked in the port of Busan, South Korea.  January 23, 2022.
USS Ronald Reagan will be in port for several days.

North Korea has accused the US military deployments and joint exercises thus far of being rehearsals for war and evidence of hostile policies by Washington and Seoul.

It will be the first visit by a US aircraft carrier to South Korea since 2018. military activity In a diplomatic effort to engage North Korea, but those negotiations have since stalled, Pyongyang released the latest law this month codifying the right to make prior use. nuclear attack to protect yourself.

Questions have been raised about the role of the approximately 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea should a conflict over Taiwan erupt.

Donnelly said such questions are for policy makers above him, but cooperation with like-minded allies such as South Korea is a key part of regional security and security that has existed for more than 70 years. He said it was an important part of the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain stability.

Officials declined to provide details of future joint exercises, but said the carrier will be in port for “several days” while the crew visits Busan. Just hours after the ship docked, there was a long line of crew members who were tested for COVID-19 before taking the bus into the city.

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