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US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea for joint drills

U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is escorted into Busan Naval Base in Busan, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. The USS Ronald Reagan arrived to participate in upcoming joint military drills with South Korea in the East Sea – the first time since 2017.U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is escorted into Busan Naval Base in Busan, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. The USS Ronald Reagan arrived to participate in upcoming joint military drills with South Korea in the East Sea – the first time since 2017.

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — The nuclear-powered plane provider USS Ronald Reagan arrived within the South Korean port of Busan on Friday forward of the 2 international locations’ joint army train that goals to point out their power in opposition to rising North Korean threats.

The joint drills would be the first involving a U.S. plane provider within the area since 2017, when the U.S. despatched three plane carriers together with the Reagan for naval drills with South Korea in response to North Korean nuclear and missile checks.

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The allies this 12 months have revived their large-scale army drills that had been downsized or shelved in earlier years to assist diplomacy with Pyongyang or due to COVID-19, responding to North Korea’s resumption of main weapons testing and rising threats of nuclear conflicts with Seoul and Washington.

The South Korean navy mentioned its mixed coaching with the Reagan battle group is supposed to spice up the allies’ army readiness and to point out “the agency resolve by the Korea-U.S. alliance for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

The North Korean menace can be anticipated to be a key agenda when U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visits South Korea subsequent week after attending the state funeral in Tokyo of slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Reagan’s arrival in South Korea comes after North Korean chief Kim Jong Un informed Pyongyang’s rubber-stamp parliament this month he would by no means abandon his nuclear weapons and missiles he must counter what he perceives as U.S. hostility.

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North Korea additionally handed a brand new legislation that enshrined its standing as a nuclear energy and approved the preemptive use of nuclear weapons over a broad vary of eventualities the place the nation or its management comes underneath menace.

Sung Kim, the Biden administration’s particular consultant for North Korea, met with South Korean counterpart Kim Gunn in Seoul on Thursday the place they expressed “severe concern” over the North’s escalating nuclear doctrine spelled out within the new legislation, South Korea’s International Ministry mentioned.

The diplomats reaffirmed the U.S. dedication to defend South Korea within the occasion of a nuclear battle with the complete vary of its army capabilities, together with nuclear. The allies additionally maintained their months-old evaluation that North Korea is gearing as much as conduct its first nuclear check since 2017 and mentioned “stern” countermeasures to such an motion, the ministry mentioned.

North Korea has dialed up weapons testing to a report tempo in 2022, launching greater than 30 ballistic weapons together with its intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, because it exploits a divide within the U.N. Safety Council deepened over Russia’s battle on Ukraine.

Whereas North Korea’s ICBMs garner a lot of U.S. consideration as a result of they pose a possible menace to the American homeland, the North has additionally been increasing its arsenal of nuclear-capable, shorter-range missiles designed to evade missile defenses in South Korea.

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North Korea’s increasing arsenal and threats of preemptive nuclear assaults have triggered considerations in South Korea over the credibility of the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” defending its allies within the occasion of battle.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative who took workplace in Might, has vowed to reinforce South Korea’s standard missile capabilities and work with the Biden administration to develop more practical methods to discourage North Korean assaults.

Senior U.S. and South Korean officers met in Washington this month for discussions on the allies’ deterrence methods and issued a press release reaffirming that “any (North Korean) nuclear assault could be met with an awesome and decisive response.” The assertion mentioned the US reiterated “its ironclad and unwavering dedication to attract on the complete vary of its army capabilities, together with nuclear (one)” to supply prolonged deterrence to South Korea.

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Kim Tong-hyung reported from Seoul.

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