The Navy has confirmed a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is operating off the Korean Peninsula for the first time in years.
The nuclear-powered USS Abraham Lincoln and its strike group are located in international waters off South Korea's southeastern coast. They are conducting bilateral operations with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, said Lt. Mark Langford, a U.S. Navy spokesperson, The Hill reported.
"Routine bilateral operations, like this one, reassure our allies and partners of the U.S. commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific," Langford wrote in an email. "Our training enhances the credibility of conventional deterrence by demonstrating the strength of our bilateral partnerships."
The last time the Navy carried out an exercise over the Sea of Japan was November 2017, when the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Nimitz carriers were involved in air defense drills, sea surveillance, and other drills, Reuters reported.
This year North Korea conducted multiple missile tests. The rogue nation fired a ballistic missile into the sea March 5, and later in March conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017.
South Korea last month elected a conservative president who promises to take a tougher line with the Kim regime than the current left-leaning administration that advocates for engagement, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Last week, a delegation representing South Korea's President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol sought deployment of American strategic assets or military hardware such as a nuclear-powered submarines or long-range bombers to help deter North Korea, according to the Journal.
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