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'Rare opportunity': Pentagon confirms joint drill of 3 aircraft carriers in Pacific

'Rare opportunity': Pentagon confirms joint drill of 3 aircraft carriers in Pacific”

According to a statement by U.S. seventh Fleet, the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt strike groups will conduct coordinated operations in global waters "to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort". A decade ago, Valiant Shield (VS) 2006 and 2007 had operated together off the coast of Guam, a US island territory in Micronesia, and focused on the ability to bring together forces from all the three strike groups in response to any regional situation. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft.

"Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex", said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift, "and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region".

The Trump administration is seeking almost $6 billion to pay for urgent missile defense improvements to counter the threat from North Korea, increased USA troop levels in Afghanistan and fast repairs to Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific theater.

The move is widely seen as a push by Washington to demonstrate its commitment to its allies in the region, including Japan, amid the uptick in tensions with North Korea.

This will be the first time in 10 years the Navy has carried out this type of exercise in the western Pacific.

Trump though tried to avoid his earlier threats to North Korea, was clear in his vows to counter aggravations with military force, according to the CNN.

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A defense source said the three carriers will convene at sea relatively close to the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea will be at the top of the agenda as Trump tries to pressure Beijing into cracking down on Pyongyang.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a trip late last month to South Korea, was at pains to stress that diplomacy was America's preferred course to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said Monday that "all the name calling and all the chest beating" by Trump isn't helpful and may actually be increasing the risks of confrontation with North Korea.

Their presence is a formidable show of force against North Korea. Trump unveiled his plans to boost US forces there earlier this year.



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