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10 November 2017, 12:59 | Terri Saunders
3 US Aircraft Carriers to Hold Drills off S.Korean Coast
The three carriers - USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt - plan to stage "coordinated operations" in worldwide waters from Saturday till next Tuesday, according to the 7th Fleet.
The Navy noted that for more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region.
Preparations were underway to have Self-Defense Force ships and aircraft join the exercise, Kyodo News quoted a Japanese government source as saying.
This will be the first time in 10 years the Navy has carried out this type of exercise in the western Pacific.
"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", said Adm. Scott Swift, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander.
"The request includes an additional $4.0 billion to support urgent missile defeat and defense enhancements to counter the threat from North Korea, $0.7 billion to fix damage to US Navy ships, and $1.2 billion in support of my Administration's South Asia strategy, the letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives", Paul Ryan Monday.
Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in global waters to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.
The move is widely seen as a push by Washington to demonstrate its commitment to its allies in the region, including Japan, amid the uptick in tensions with North Korea. Speaking in Tokyo on Monday, Trump renewed his warning that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea was over.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a trip late last month to South Korea, was at pains to stress that diplomacy was America's preferred course to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. "As long as the USA and its followers continue their hostile acts against us, we will further bolster our nuclear, precious sword of justice", said a dispatch carried by the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun shortly ahead of Trump's arrival.
Nuclear-armed North Korea has lashed out at the military muscle-flexing, which it calls a rehearsal for invasion.
North Korea has repeatedly complained about American naval exercises in the region, but it has sparked global condemnation with repeated tests of missiles and nuclear weapons. This is a very different administration than the USA has had in the past.
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