Japan's military begins major drill with US carriers watching North Korea

Japan's military begins major drill with US carriers watching North Korea

Japan's military begins major drill with US carriers watching North Korea

All together, 10 USA warships sailed together with two ships from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force in a photo dated June 1 from the Sea of Japan.

A Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier traveling from Naval Base Kitsap in Washington State could join the aircraft carriers, or be stationed in another area of the Pacific, but an exercise involving all three USA aircraft carriers would be unprecedented, the Yomiuri reported.

The Ronald Reagan traveled separately to the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea in South Korea, by sailing through the Tsugaru Strait between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu.

The strike groups of USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan joined Japanese destroyers Hyuga and Ashigara for the exercise.

Washington described today's drill as "routine training".

Japanese Air Self Defence Force F-15s are taking part in simulated combat with U.S. Navy F-18 fighters at the same time, the military said.

It was understood that he meant the Vinson and its strike group, as the U.S. Pacific Command leader also said publicly that the carrier was leaving Singapore and heading toward Korea.

The drills came as Washington and Tokyo step up their rhetoric with an eye to stopping North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

The envisaged drill, to be joined probably by two or more MSDF destroyers, is aimed at strengthening pressure on North Korea, which has been continuously conducting provocations such as test firing of ballistic and other missiles.

Meanwhile, North Korea has ignored all calls to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, conducting dozens of missile launches and testing two nuclear bombs since the beginning of a year ago, in defiance of United Nations sanctions. Just as North Korea is reacting to American carriers and cruise-missile-equipped vessels in nearby waters, the U.S.is preparing for a scenario where Pyongyang acquires ICBMs.

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