The U.S. is going to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the Korean Peninsula this month for a joint military exercise with South Korea’s Navy, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.
“We are in consultations (with the U.S.) on a plan for the aircraft strike group led by the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan to operate in the East Sea around Oct. 15,” a South Korean defense official told Yonhap. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, Yonhap said.
The USS Ronald Reagan would deploy to waters near the Korean Peninsula for combined military exercises with South Korea’s Navy, which would include joint drills “to detect, track and intercept the North’s ballistic missiles, in addition to anti-submarine warfare training,” the official told Yonhap.
“The Reagan will likely be accompanied by several other warships belonging to the strike group, such as an Aegis destroyer, a guided-missile cruiser and a nuclear-powered submarine,” Yonhap reported.
A U.S. Forces Korea official told Yonhap there was no set date yet.
“It’s likely to hold the combined training around Oct. 20. The exact schedule has not been set, depending on the conditions. And then it will likely make a port call in Busan,” he told Yonhap.
The USS Ronald Reagan is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and is part of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet. It is part of Carrier Strike Group Five, the only forward-based carrier strike group whose home part is Yokosuka, Japan.
The USS Ronald Reagan weighs more than 101,000 tons and is more than 1,000 feet long. The crew numbers about 5,000, and the Reagan can carry about 90 fixed-wing aircraft, fighter jets and helicopters.
This report comes at a time when the U.S. and North Korea are having a war of words, and while the U.S. Secretary of State has said the conflict on the Korean Peninsula would be talked down and solved diplomatically, President Donald Trump over the weekend said that would not be the case, alluding to a military solution in Korea instead.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…,” the President tweeted on Sunday morning, referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Trump added: “… Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
Tillerson on Saturday had said the U.S. has a direct line of communication with Pyongyang.
The President effectively shut down Tillerson’s statements and alluded to the fact that his Administration and, most likely, the U.S. Military would be taking care of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Rhetoric has gone back and forth between the U.S. and North Korea all summer. Tensions can be cut with a knife, and the sometimes bizarre exchanges have left many Americans wondering exactly what is going to take place next.
Last week, in the latest exchange of words, North Korea claimed that President Trump “declared war” on the country after he tweeted that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” if it keeps threatening the United States. The White House issued a statement saying it had not declared war.
The North Korean Foreign Minister had threatened to drop a Hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations in September.
“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong Un does,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters on Sept. 22.
North Korea threatening to test an H-bomb on Friday came after a slew of accusations from North Korean dictator Jim Kong Un on Thursday, in response to President Trump’s intense U.N. General Assembly speech on Tuesday, during which the President said “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un is on a “suicide mission” and that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if need be.
On Thursday – the same day that Trump signed new sanctions against North Korea – Kim Jong Un threatened President Trump that he would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea if the U.S. had to defend itself States or its allies, and he also called Trump a “dotard.”
Kim also said that Trump is “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire,” and that his U.N. speech showed “mentally deranged behavior.”
“[Trump] made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history,” Kim said. “I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying North Korea. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”
The statement was published by North Korean’s propaganda directorate, Fox News reported.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday: “We cannot deny the possibility it [an H-bomb or missile] may fly over our country said the country must ready itself for the sudden escalation in tensions and be prepared for a missile launch,” CNN reported.
The new sanctions aim to impact the flow of cash to North Korea and cut off trade partners, as well. The sanctions could also have contributed to the intensity of Kim Jon Un’s most recent statement, as sanctions further and further alienate North Korea.
The previous sanctions agains North Korea banned about 90 percent of North Korea’s exports, fully banning the country’s textile exports and reducing its oil and petroleum exports. The sanctions also banned the country’s overseas laborers, which provided nearly $500 million in revenue; and cut off all foreign investment with North Korea, its assets being frozen. They were passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council – with both China and Russia voting in favor – following North Korea’s sixth ever successful nuclear missile launch and claims that the country now has a Hydrogen bomb it can place on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
President Trump said Tuesday at the U.N. that it is time for North Korea to realize that ceasing its missile program is the “only acceptable future,” but that the United States is ready to “totally destroy” the country if it continues on this path of destruction toward the U.S. or its allies.
North Korea recently launched yet another missile, on Sept. 14, this one an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
The North Korean launch came hours after North Korea threatened to blow the United States to “ashes and darkness” and has said it will “sink” the country of Japan, following a United Nations resolution that banned 90 percent of its exports. North Korea had promised the U.S. would “suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in history” over the sanctions.
The United Nations in August also unanimously approved sanctions against North Korea in response to Kim Jong Un’s two successful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July.
Then, North Korea threatened “thousands-fold” revenge on the United States following those sanctions, which cut North Korea’s export revenue by $1 billion, or about a third. The sanctions banned North Korea from exporting coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.
North Korea’s sixth nuclear missile test caused a 6.3 earthquake and was roughly five times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The test came hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed that it now had an H-bomb to put onto its long-range ICBMs.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has said that North Korea is “begging for war,” and that it’s time for the international community to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea.
North Korea has come out slinging harsh words following U.N. Security Council sanctions that ban nearly all of its exports, saying this week that the U.S. faces “final ruin” it it goes to war with Kim Jong Un.