The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in South Korea ahead of joint military exercises that are seen as a show of strength amid growing North Korean threats.
The Ronald Reagan and ships from its accompanying strike force docked at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan on Friday.
The arrival marks the most significant deployment yet by Washington under a new push to have more US nuclear-capable “strategic assets” operate in the region to deter North Korea.
Joint military drills in the coming days will be the first involving a US aircraft carrier in the region since 2017, when the US sent three aircraft carriers including the Reagan for naval drills with South Korea in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests at that time.
North Korea denounced previous US military deployments and joint drills as rehearsals for war and proof of hostile policies by Washington and Seoul.
The stated mission of the joint drills was to demonstrate “the resolve of these allies in the face of renewed North Korean threats”.
Joint military exercises had reduced in recent years to allow “summit diplomacy to take place to try to get the North Koreans to give up their nuclear arms”, he said.