SEOUL - The United States is mulling the deployment of two aircraft carriers to the Korean Peninsula to warn North Korea against future provocations, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday (Aug 2).
An unidentified South Korean government official was quoted as saying the US is considering deploying two carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, and a nuclear-powered submarine before the allies' large-scale joint military drills, codenamed "Ulchi Freedom Guardian", which kick off on Aug 21.
This comes after North Korea's latest test-launch of what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reportedly strike all of mainland US. The missile launched on July 28 flew as high as 3,700km before it fell into the sea near Japan 1,000km away.
South Korean military and intelligence sources believe there's a high chance of a North Korean provocation before the drills, possibly another ICBM launch or a sixth nuclear test, Yonhap reported.
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USS Ronald Reagan is reportedly moving north after ending military drills in Queensland, Australia. USS Carl Vinson has sailed for the West Pacific after leaving its homeport San Diego early last month.
The early deployment would mean the carriers could return to waters near the Korean Peninsula just 70 days after leaving in late May, following military drills with South Korea and Japan.
The South Korean military has said it's monitoring for any unusual movements north of the border.