The US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson plans to arrive in South Korea this week for joint military drills in the country, the US military said Monday, in the latest show of force against North Korea.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which will lead the Carl Vinson Strike Group, is set to make a port call in Busan, about 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Wednesday to participate in the allies' annual drills.
|USFK Commander Vincent K. Brooks (far left) and Seoul's JCS Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin (4th from left) are briefed on ongoing joint military drills on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier. (Yonhap)|
The Foal Eagle exercise started March 1 and will run through the end of April. On Monday, the two allies began the Key Resolve computer-simulated command post exercise, which will run through March 24.
The carrier strike group with 5,500 crew members includes the destroyer Wayne E. Meyer and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2.
The arrival of the Carl Vinson Strike Group demonstrates the US intent of deterring North Korea amid tensions over the North's evolving missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests and 24 missile launches last year. This year, it continued its provocations by firing five ballistic missiles -- one intermediate-range and four improved versions of Scud missiles -- into the East Sea.
North Korea views its missile and nuclear weapons program as a deterrent against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy against it.
The US also plans to deploy strategic bombers, stealth fighters and other strategic weapons, a move widely seen as flexing its military muscle against North Korea.
North Korea has frequently denounced South Korea-US joint military exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion. It has recently vowed to take its "toughest" military counteractions against South Korea and the US over the drills.
Seoul and Washington say their annual exercises are defensive in nature. (Yonhap)