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China Holds Major Drill in Response to Deployment of 3 US Carriers
14 November 2017, 02:46 | Sandy Nunez
Two of US U.S. F A-18 and Japan Air Self Defense Force's F-15 fly over the USS Ronald Reagan during a joint military exercise
The USS Theodore Roosevelt strike group, including a cruiser and three destroyers, entered the Western Pacific region on October 23, joining the USS Ronald Reagan, Bloombergsaid.
The report cited a Hong Kong military expert as saying that the exercise clearly appears to be in response to the South Korea-U.S. joint drill which is mobilizing three U.S. carriers.
South Korea and the United States on Saturday kicked off a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan involving three US aircraft carriers amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
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. 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.
The four-day drill began Sunday, and it gives the three carrier strike groups an unusual opportunity to train together as an integrated unit alongside allied South Korean and Japanese forces.
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For more than seven decades, the US Pacific Fleet has been an active and stabilized component conducting strike force operations in the region.
Officials point out Navy aircraft carriers more recently have conducted dual-carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.
Bloomberg said the Navy announced October 13 that the USS Michigan, one the Navy's four specialized submarines which can carry as many as 66 Navy SEAL commandos and 154 Tomahawks, had arrived in Busan, South Korea.
"North Korean news outlets described the carriers" presence as a provocation, and officials in Pyongyang told CNN that they are concerned that Trump intends to start a conflict.
"The U.S. efforts to expand its military influence in Asia-Pacific and the movement of big neighboring powers to contain it escalate the military tension and increase arms race in the region with each passing day", it said.
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