Oct. 6 – Seoul (Korea Herald/ANN) – The United States has reshipped its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula in a tit-for-tat action against the launch of longer-range missiles from North Korea , the South Korean Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.
The US Navy’s USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered super aircraft carrier, and its strike group deployed to international waters in the East Sea on Wednesday. The redeployment of the key US strategic asset near the peninsula is the quick and rare allied countermeasure to North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan and reportedly hit the Pacific Ocean Tuesday morning.
“The carrier battle group’s reshipment to the Korean Peninsula is highly unusual and demonstrates the resolute will of the South Korea-US alliance to strengthen the alliance’s preparedness posture against consecutive provocations by North Korea and the United States. respond decisively to any type of provocation and threat from North Korea,” the JCS said.
The JCS explained that South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreed to act during their phone call on Tuesday.
The decision by the two defense chiefs builds on the commitment forged between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden at their May 21 summit. Yoon and Biden reaffirmed their commitment to deploying strategic U.S. assets “in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary.”
The South Korean and U.S. navies and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force are scheduled to hold trilateral drills in international waters of the East Sea on Thursday.
The USS Ronald Reagan will notably participate in the upcoming exercise with its carrier battle group. The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Barry and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold will be mobilized for the exercise.
The three navies are likely to conduct a ballistic missile defense exercise that aims to improve interoperability and tactical and technical coordination among participants in detecting, tracking, reporting and assessing ballistic targets.
U-turn to the Korean Peninsula The redeployment came notably days after the USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group joined a trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise that was led by the naval forces of the South Korea, the United States and Japan on September 30 in the international waters of the East Sea.
The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted bilateral naval exercises with the South Korean navy fleet Sept. 26-29 in the East Sea operational area, referred to as the Korea Theater of Operations, after their entry into a naval base in Busan on September 23 for the first time since 2017.
South Korea and the United States have taken steps to demonstrate and strengthen alliance preparedness and response capabilities to counter North Korea’s missile launch. The South Korean military estimated that North Korea fired a suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile from Mupyong-ri in the northern province of Chagang on Tuesday morning. The missile traveled about 4,500 kilometers at a speed of about Mach 17 and at an altitude of 970 kilometers.
The latest missile launch marked the first time the North Korean ballistic missile has flown over Japan since September 2017, and its flight distance is said to be the longest among previous missile launches.
In response to North Korea’s IRBM launch, South Korea and the United States on Wednesday fired four surface-to-surface missiles from the coastal city of Gangneung, Gangwon Province, toward the South Sea. East around 12:50 p.m. to demonstrate their precision striking. capabilities, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced.
The South Korean military and Korean US forces respectively launched two missiles from the army’s Tactical Missile System and conducted “precision strikes against fictitious targets”.
South Korea also fired a Hyunmoo-2C ballistic missile during the actual exercise, but it fell into its military base after an abnormal flight.
The JCS explained that South Korea and the United States “demonstrated combined force response capabilities” by conducting the live-fire exercise, underscoring allies’ readiness against potential North Korean provocations that could happen anywhere in the country.
The combined live-fire exercise took place hours after the allies conducted a bilateral strike exercise involving four F-15K fighter jets from the South Korean air force and four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the United States Air Force.
An F-15K fighter jet fired two joint air-to-ground direct attack rounds at a target on Jikdo, an inhabited island off the west coast, to demonstrate its precision strike capabilities.
South Korea’s JCS said the bilateral drill demonstrated the “allies’ ability to strike precisely at the origin of provocation and the posture of readiness to punish” North Korea.
JCS Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum held a call with his US counterpart Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday and discussed ways to deal with North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats, according to the JCS. south korean.
Kim and Milley “agreed on the need for trilateral security cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and Japan to counter the North Korean military threat.”
The two sides also pledged to discuss ways to improve the alliance’s response capabilities and the viability of the United States’ extended deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats at the the next meeting of the Military Committee in Washington.
Joint actions by allies are also aimed at deterring further provocations, while the South Korean military has prepared for the possibility that North Korea will carry out more missile tests in the foreseeable future.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a policy report to a parliamentary audit on Tuesday that North Korea is preparing to test a new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile to master the technologies.
North Korea continued to launch missiles at unusually short intervals. Tuesday’s IRBM launch came after the country fired seven short-range ballistic missiles towards the East Sea from September 25 to October 1 in four discrete launches.
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