Three US aircraft carriers are set to conduct a simultaneous maritime drill in the Pacific in a massive show of force by Washington's navy amid threats emerging from North Korea. The supercarriers will be accompanied by several guided missile destroyers and submarines during the simulated war exercises.
This is the first time three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers of the US Navy will be carrying out naval manoeuvres at the same time since 2007, though sometimes two such giant vessels can be seen in nearby waters. The announcement coincides with President Donald Trump's Asia tour, which is dominated by North Korean affairs.
In what is bound to be seen as a direct provocation by North Korea, the US Navy's USS Nimitz, the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Theodore Roosevelt will be leading their respective strike groups in the training missions in the Western Pacific.
It is still unclear when the exercises would take place. Their exact location has also not been disclosed as yet. Multiple American officials have confirmed the planned event to Reuters.
Only on Monday, 6 November, the 100,000-tonne Reagan, the US Navy's most powerful vessel stationed in Asia, had wrapped up its three-day exercises with Japanese and Indian naval forces. "The exercise helped improve fighting skills and deepened cooperation with India," announced the Japanese military on Tuesday, 7 November.
On his Asia tour, Trump has been shoring up the US' alliance with key American allies in the region such as South Korea and Japan as they jointly ramp up efforts against North Korea to scale down its nuclear and missile programmes. So far, there has been little success as Pyongyang shows no signs of backing down.
The Kim Jong-un regime has pledged to strengthen its nuclear activities just as Trump landed in South Korea on Tuesday, 7 November. "As long as the US and its followers continue their hostile acts against us, we will further bolster our nuclear, precious sword of justice," said a dispatch carried by the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun shortly ahead of Trump's arrival.