Three-Carrier Strike Force Conducts Exercise in Western Pacific

The aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz are underway conducting operations in international waters as part of a three-carrier strike force exercise in the western Pacific

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This is the first time the three supercarriers are sailing together in the same region in almost 10 years, making it clear that the Trump administration is determined to flex its muscles against the Kim Jong-un regime.

The aircraft carriers, all based in different locations, will begin the drill in the Western Pacific on Saturday through Tuesday next week.

According to a Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) press statement, the two navies conducted various tactical exercises this Sunday aimed at improving the tactical skills of the JMSDF and enhancing collaboration with the U.S. Navy.

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In a first, three USA aircraft carriers carried out joint exercise off the east coast of South Korea on Sunday even as President Donald Trump reached Manila for the ASEAN summit.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three", said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Scott Swift. Three aircraft carrier strike groups have last operated together in the Western Pacific during exercise Valiant Shield off the coast of Guam in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Both operations focused on the capacity to quickly unite forces from three strike force groups because of national circumstances.

The U.S.S. Nimitz, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, and the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan all took part in the exercise, along with their accompanying vessels. The official added that exercises closest to Korea involved USA and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese forces.

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The training is expected to showcase the military strength and U.S. alliance with Japan and South Korea amid the ongoing conflict with North Korea, according to information obtained by Association Press.

"U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups routinely deploy to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean", according to a Navy statement.

The carriers conducted drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan, a South Korean defense ministry official told CNN.

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However, Pyongyangs state news agency accused the US and South Korea of attempting to escalate tensions in the region.

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