U.S. aircraft carrier to visit South Korea for joint navy drills
A U.S. carrier strike group will visit South Korea later this week for its first military drills with the South Korean Navy near the peninsula in five years, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday citing Seoul officials.
Why it matters: The upcoming drills will come amid concerns that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test and its first since 2017.
- North Korea has previously threatened to fire missiles toward U.S. Pacific territories in response to similar joint exercises.
- Carrier Strike Group 5 — including its flagship, the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier — is expected to reach a naval base in Busan on Friday.
What they're saying: "By conducting combined drills, the Navies of the two countries plan to strengthen their military readiness and demonstrate the firm resolve of the South Korea-U.S. alliance for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the South Korean Navy said in a news release, according to Yonhap.
The big picture: The USS Ronald Reagan joined two other U.S. supercarriers and the South Korean Navy for joint drills in the Philippine Sea in June, sparking denunciations from North Korea, according to the PBS News Hour.
- The U.S. and South Korea militaries also held massive live-fire field exercises near the demilitarized zone in August.
- North Korea adopted a new law earlier this month, which stated it would preemptively strike the U.S. or South Korea if they attempt to remove Kim Jong-un from power or compromise its nuclear weapon systems.