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Three U.S. Aircraft Carriers To Join Combined Exercises in East Sea

irst large scale exercise to show “the strong will to stop provocations by North Korea,” after the Republic of Korea-U.S. summit meeting on November 7th


On November 12th, three nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carriers entered the Korea Theater of Operations (KTO) in the East Sea to join together in high intensity combined exercises with the Republic of Korean Navy. The KTO refers to an area that the commander of Republic of Korea-U.S. combined forces is to zone off for military operations in case of a contingency. It also involves open seas as well as territorial seas. U.S. Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan, U.S. Aircraft Carrier Theodore Roosevelt, and U.S. Aircraft Carrier Nimitz joined in the exercises. This marks the first time since its foundation that the Republic of Korean Navy has conducted a joint exercise with three U.S. aircraft carriers. It has been ten years since three U.S. aircraft carriers engaged in a concurrent drill, with the last one being a drill in the seas near Guam in 2007. 

It was expected that the three U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers would enter the KTO on November 13th, but the schedule has been advanced by one day. According to a report, the Reagan entered first and the other two carriers, Roosevelt and Nimitz, followed it. In addition to the three U.S. aircraft carriers, 11 U.S. Aegis ships and seven Republic of Korean warships, including two Aegis destroyers, were set to join the exercises. In terms of the two countries' military strength, the ability to implement combined operations and interoperability was enhanced through exercises such as aircraft carrier convoy operations, air operations, and air firing. 

The exercise is the first large scale combined exercise between Republic of Korea and the U.S. after the two countries' talks at the Republic of Korea-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on October 28th and Summit Meeting on November 7th regarding expanding the rotational deployment of U.S. strategic assets in and around the Korean Peninsula in order to enhance the credibility of extended deterrence.  

According to Republic of Korean military officials, the exercises are aimed at enhancing the credibility of extended deterrence on the basis of the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance against North Korean nuclear and missile provocations, and will showcase the strong will and unshakable military readiness of the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance to retaliate against any provocations by North Korea. Republic of Korea-U.S. aircraft carrier joint drills in the East Sea kicked off on November 11th and will last until November 14th.  

By Yeong-Sun, Lee < >

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