US Sends Fleet USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Again to South Korea

US Sends Fleet USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Again to South Korea
The USS Ronald Reagan, steams in formation with ships from Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5)

Seoul - The United States military is deploying an aircraft carrier strike fleet off the coast of South Korea in retaliation for North Korea's recent missile launches. The US is redeploying a powerful naval unit just weeks after its first visit in years.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the move on Wednesday (10/5/2022), saying the USS Ronald Reagan-led American carrier strike group would soon return to the East Sea. "The redeployment of the carrier group on the Korean peninsula is highly unusual and demonstrates the strong determination of the South Korean-US alliance against successive North Korean provocations and threats," the Seoul military said.

South Korea said they would continue "close cooperation" with the United States. The US aircraft carrier and its support vessels visited South Korean waters last month on their first trip to the peninsula since 2018. They were sent in retaliation for a missile test by Pyongyang earlier this week. North Korea's missiles crossed the East Sea into Japanese airspace, prompting immediate criticism from Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

The DPRK responded to the deployment with another weapons test, firing two short-range ballistic missiles early Thursday, according to South Korean military officials. They said the launch came from the North Korean capital region and was carried out over a distance of 22 minutes, with one projectile traveling 350 kilometers and the other 800 km. While they were fired towards Japan, the missiles did not reach the country's exclusive economic zone.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry later denounced the return of the carrier as a "serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula and beyond." North Korea's foreign ministry added that it strongly condemns any US-led attempt to impose new sanctions through the United Nations.

North Korea has carried out a record number of missile launches this year, six times in the past 14 days. It said Thursday's test was a "fair deterrent" after several rounds of joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea in recent weeks. North Korea has repeatedly condemned such drills as rehearsals for invasion.

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