USA warships cause fresh tension in Korea Peninsula

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers his speech on the 2018 budget bill during a plenary session at the National Assembly in Seoul South Korea

The US and South Korea launched military manoeuvres involving three American aircraft carrier strike groups on Saturday in a massive show of force that drew the anger of rival North Korea.

Trump said in a speech at South Korea's parliament Wednesday, "Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets".

The last time such drills were held was during the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007, which took place off the coast of the US territory of Guam, which hosts two USA military bases, and aimed to develop the ability for the three strike groups to quickly work together should it become necessary.

After President Donald Trump described his strategy on containing North Korea as "peace through strength", Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the North Korean ruling party's mouthpiece, published an article on Friday protesting the drills and vowing to "defend peace until the end".

According to the U.S. Navy, it is the first three-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific since 2007.

Units assigned to the strike force 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.

In late May, Reagan and the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group conducted the first dual-carrier operations off of the Korean Peninsula since the late 1990s in reaction to a series of provocative missile tests conducted by North Korea. In recent months, U.S. Navy carriers have conducted dual-carrier strike group exercises in the Western Pacific, including in the contested South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.

The fleet stopped short of revealing the exact venue for the training.

The three flattops are the USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Thursday confirmed to media that this will be the first time that the ROK and the USA navies stage joint bilateral drills with the three aircraft carriers in waters off the east coast of the country.

Svilen Petrov is 31 years old marketing manager and co-Chief Editor of Maritime Herald.

Related news: