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USS Ronald Reagan arrives for training in South Korea

The arrival marks the most significant development yet in the call for more US nuclear-capable “assets” to deter North Korea.

nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan They arrived in South Korea ahead of joint military exercises seen as a sign of strength amid the growing North Korean threat.

The Ronald Reagan and accompanying strike force ships docked at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan on Friday.

The arrival marks the most significant development yet by Washington under renewed pressure to operate US nuclear-capable “strategic assets” in the region. deter North Korea.

The joint military exercises over the next few days will be the first to involve a US aircraft carrier in the region since 2017, when the US sent three aircraft carriers, including Reagan, for naval exercises with South Korea. Following North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests At that time.

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

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the flight deck of Ronald Reagan, said the joint exercise’s stated mission was to show “the resolve of these allies in the face of the new North Korean threat.” .

“This is a way for the United States and South Korea to show the strength of their alliance in the face of what they say is a growing threat from North Korea. “I’m furious about the exercise,” McBride said.

Joint military exercises have been curtailed in recent years, he said, allowing “head-to-head diplomacy to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.”

“Obviously they’re not doing that,” he added.

According to McBride, North Korea used the exercise to “reflect on their position that they need to retain their cherished nuclear arsenals at all costs to ensure survival in what they see as a hostile world. ‘ is likely to be seen as justification.

“firm determination”

The South Korean Navy said on Friday that the joint exercise with the Reagan Battle Group was to increase the military readiness of the allies and demonstrate “the unwavering determination by the ROK-US alliance for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.” .

North Koreans and Resuming Testing of Primary WeaponsSeoul and Washington have revived large-scale military exercises that have been scaled back or canceled over the past few years to support diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang or because of COVID-19.

The North Korean threat is also expected to be high on the agenda when US Vice President Kamala Harris visits South Korea next week after attending the state funeral in Tokyo of the assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The aircraft carrier’s arrival in South Korea means North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will never give up the nuclear weapons and missiles needed to counter what he perceives as US hostility toward North Korea at a parliamentary meeting in Pyongyang this month. It was done after saying

North Korea also passed a new law declared itself as a nuclear-weapon state It also authorized the first use of nuclear weapons in a wide range of scenarios in which a country or its leadership is threatened.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said Sung Kim, the Biden administration’s special representative for North Korea, met with South Korean leader Kim Gang in Seoul on Thursday and said he was “deeply concerned” about North Korea’s escalating nuclear policy. said South Korea’s foreign ministry.

diplomat reaffirmed US commitment to defend South Korea It has all military capabilities, including nuclear, in the event of nuclear war.

The allies also maintained months-old assessments that North Korea was preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017 and discussed “tough” countermeasures to such actions.

North Korea will ramp up its weapons tests at a record pace in 2022, launching more than 30 ballistic weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, and capitalizing on the division in the UN Security Council that has deepened in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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