The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has launched a new round of naval drills with South Korean warships in response to North Korea’s latest launch of ballistic missiles and the flying of warplanes near the South Korean border.
The Reagan aircraft carrier and its battle group returned to waters near the Korean peninsula and began two days of drills on Friday aimed at bolstering South Korean and United States defence capabilities, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
“We will continue to strengthen our operational capabilities and readiness to respond to any provocations by North Korea through joint drills,” the joint chiefs said in a statement on Friday.
The US naval strike group had already participated in missile defence exercises with warships from Japan and South Korea following North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile on Tuesday that overflew part of Japan.
On Thursday, Pyongyang launched two more short-range ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast and later flew eight fighter jets and four bombers in formation just dozens of kilometres from the inter-Korean border.
South Korea’s air force scrambled 30 military planes in response to what is believed to have been the largest deployment of North Korean warplanes near the South Korean border.