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12 November 2017, 01:53 | Rufus Hill
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The presence of the three aircraft carriers in waters around the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea, unnerved North Korea, who said the presence of USA strategic assets was the reason for the country needing a nuclear deterrent.
The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday that it will commence rare three-carrier strike force exercises in the Western Pacific starting this weekend and coinciding with the final leg of President Donald Trump's Asia tour.
The JCS said the three U.S. Nimitz-class supercarriers - the "largest warships in the world" - will not be deployed on the Korean peninsula at the same time.
The drill is also in response to North Korean nuclear and missile provocations, the South's military said, and to show any such developments by Pyongyang can be repelled with "overwhelming force".
The KTO is a theater for military operations near the Korean Peninsula, which is designated by the commander of combined forces of South Korea and the United States.
The goal of the exercise was to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to "operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force efforts", the navy said, adding that the three carrier strike groups will conduct training including "air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuver".
The drills began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast.
According to the U.S. Navy, it is the first three-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific since 2007.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet has a determined and steady presence throughout the region, conducting operations for more than 70 years now.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan conducts joint drills with the South Korean navy at sea on October 19.
Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in global waters off the Korean peninsula from Saturday through Tuesday in order to demonstrate the Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier groups as a coordinated force.
Also on Saturday, the US and South Korean navies launched four days of joint drills off the east coast of South Korea.
Still, he warned Pyongyang that its military was no match for the U.S.
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