The US Navy’s only forward-deployed nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) has arrived in Busan, South Korea, for the first time since 2017.
It also marked the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier’s first visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) in four years.
According to a Reuters’ report, this scheduled port visit is part of the US Navy’s efforts to increase the presence of its nuclear-capable ‘strategic assets’ in the region in response to the growing threat from North Korea.
The report also quoted undisclosed officials saying that the US Navy’s strike force will also join the ROK ships to conduct various maritime drills, showcasing their military strength.
Carrier Strike Group (CSG 5) commander rear admiral Buzz Donnelly said: “The Ronald Reagan Strike Group’s visit is of strategic importance to the US and Republic of Korea relationship and is a clear and unambiguous demonstration of US commitment to the Alliance.
“Our presence and commitments to the Republic of Korea and the Indo-Pacific region are not new, and visits like this are part of our routine operations in the region that have helped maintain peace for more than 70 years.”
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The aircraft carrier CVN 76 has been accompanied by other ships of the CSG Ticonderoga class of guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52).
As part of the CSG visit, another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) will arrive in Chinhae.
The US Navy said that the port visit will see Ronald Reagan hosting various dignitaries and officials from both the nations along with multiple leader engagements ashore.