The USS Ronald Reagan sailed into the port of Busan in southern South Korea on Saturday (October 21) in a regular visit to the country as tensions stemming from North Korea‘s missile and nuclear provocations simmer.
The 100,000-tonne nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy’s biggest warship in Asia with about 5,000 sailors, entered port after patrolling waters east of the Korean peninsula earlier in the week.
“The purpose of those exercises and operations are to enable the combined defense of the Republic of Korea and have them throughout,” said Marc Dalton, U.S. Commander of Carrier Strike Group Five.
The carrier is conducting drills with the South Korean navy involving 40 warships deployed in a line stretching from the Yellow Sea west of the peninsula into the Sea of Japan and meant to be a show of their capabilities to defend South Korea.
“Whether we had any interaction with North Koreans, we had no interaction with any NorthKorean forces at any point during this exercise.” Marc Dalton said.
The Reagan’s presence in the region, coupled with recent military pressure by Washington on Pyongyang, including B1-B strategic bomber flights over the Korean peninsula, comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s first official visit to Asia, set to start in Japan on November 5, followed by South Korea.