Seoul, South Korea — A US aircraft carrier is due to visit South Korea this week for its first joint training with South Korean warships in five years, officials said Monday, in an apparent show of force against rising nuclear threats North Koreans.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its battle group will arrive Friday at a naval base in southeastern South Korea for combined training aimed at bolstering the military readiness of allies and demonstrating “the firm resolve of the Korea-US alliance for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the South Korean navy said in a statement.
It would be the first such joint exercises involving a US aircraft carrier near the peninsula since 2017, when the United States sent three aircraft carriers, including the Reagan, for naval exercises with South Korea in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests, according to the South Korean. Department of Defense.
The aircraft carrier’s arrival comes after North Korea recently passed a new law to allow the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons under certain conditions, in a move that apparently shows its increasingly aggressive nuclear doctrine. Earlier this year, the North launched a series of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles capable of reaching both the American mainland and South Korea.
Some experts say North Korea’s moves clearly suggest it is not interested in resuming denuclearization talks until the United States and others recognize it as a nuclear state. They say North Korea needs such recognition for arms control negotiations with rivals and to secure sanctions relief and other concessions while retaining some of its nuclear weapons.
After a meeting in Washington last week, senior US and South Korean officials said in a statement that “any (North Korean) nuclear attack would be met with an overwhelming and decisive response.” The statement said the United States reiterated “its unwavering and unwavering commitment to leveraging the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear (a)” to provide extensive deterrence to South Korea.
U.S. and South Korean officials also stressed that the upcoming deployment of the Reagan Carrier Strike Group to the region is a clear demonstration of U.S. commitment to security, according to the joint statement. It was the first such meeting of the allies since the start of 2018.
To deal with North Korean nuclear threats, South Korea has built and purchased a range of high-tech missiles, stealth aircraft and other conventional weapons. But it has no nuclear weapons and is under the protection of an American “nuclear umbrella”, which guarantees a devastating American response in the event of an attack on its ally. About 28,500 American soldiers are deployed in South Korea.
The USS Ronald Reagan carrier battle group was originally scheduled to travel to South Korea on Thursday, but its arrival date was changed due to bad weather, including a typhoon, the South Korean navy said.