Thursday, 23 November, 2017

USA to stage drill with three carriers as Trump visits Asia

Three US aircraft carriers to conduct drills in Asia amid North Korean crisis Three US aircraft carriers to conduct drills in Asia amid North Korean crisis
Dexter Carr | 12 November, 2017, 01:54

Kim has called Trump a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

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 training is aimed at restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations and showing our military's strong willingness to act and military preparedness", the JCS said, quoted in the local press.

Since taking office, Trump has vowed to expand the fleet of U.S. carriers, even as some military strategists and experts believe the massive ships would be increasingly vulnerable to modern Chinese and Russian weapons in any conflict.

Trump may also board one of the carriers in person to demonstrate the US firepower and its regional security commitment.

"Beyond the capability to project military power at great range, their ability to project political and psychological power is arguably unmatched, and we are seeing that play out", said Huxley, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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"These three carriers are not there specifically targeting North Korea".

The last time such drills were held was during the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007, which took place off the coast of the US territory of Guam, which hosts two USA military bases, and aimed to develop the ability for the three strike groups to quickly work together should it become necessary.

U.S. defense officials noted recently the presence of the three United States carriers in the region was reassuring allies, even though it was long scheduled.

Trump was in Beijing on Wednesday and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a meeting in which he was expected to discuss how to curb Pyongyang's ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Nuclear-armed North Korea has lashed out at the military muscle-flexing, which it calls a rehearsal for invasion. This is a very different administration than the USA has had in the past.

"It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world", Trump told media at a news conference following a summit with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

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