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12 November 2017, 02:16 | Kara Nash
Three US aircraft carriers to hold joint training in western Pacific for first time in 10 years
SEOUL-South Korea will join three USA aircraft carrier strike groups in a joint drill scheduled for November 11 to 14, the South's military said on Friday.
South Korea's military says the battle groups of the USS Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Nimitz will successively enter the exercise area during the drills that run until Tuesday.
The governments should also tell North Korea that should it "instead take a step in the right direction", the U.S., South Korea and the rest of the worldwide community are "ready to present a brighter future".
The war exercises off the tense Korean Peninsula aim to strengthen the alliance's policy of "extended deterrence" against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The US administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
The carriers, already operating in the Western Pacific, will sail one by one into the waters east of Korea for the event, it added.
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During the joint drill, the two countries will practice air operation and artillery strikes, as well as aircraft carrier escorts to test their ability to jointly carry out operations.
The military also said another objective of the drills was to "show off the determination for strong retaliation and the firm military readiness", and the ROK and US militaries' ability to "repulse any kind of provocations by North Korea with overwhelming military power in case of contingency".
The deployment of the three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the region comes amid a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Asia.
This is the first time that three American aircraft carriers have conducted joint maneuvers in the western Pacific since 2007.
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In his speech before South Korea's National Assembly Wednesday, Trump told North Korea: "Do not underestimate us, and do not try us". It also flew two new midrange missiles over Japan and threatened to launch them toward Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.
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Trump also noted that the three USA aircraft carriers "are appropriately positioned" near the Korean Peninsula. It is the first time since 2007 that the Navy has carried out this type of exercise in the western Pacific.
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