Two US aircraft carriers leave waters off Korean peninsula after show of force with Japan
Ships sailed to region in an apparent show of force days after latest North Korean ballistic missile test
Two US aircraft carriers have left the Sea of Japan (East Sea) after engaging in exercises with Japanese defence vessels and fighter jets, a US Navy official said Tuesday.
In a rare move, the two navy carriers the Carl Vinson and the Ronald Reagan - had been deployed in the sea amid heightened tensions following North Korean missile tests.
While the carriers apparently left the area for replenishment and in connection with other missions, the United States, Japan and South Korea are expected to remain on high alert.
Watch: feeding the 5,000 aboard the USS Carl Vinson carrier
The Carl Vinson is now heading to the United States, while the Ronald Reagan is continuing training with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force in waters east of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, the official said.
The two nuclear-powered carriers conducted an exercise with MSDF helicopter carrier Hyuga and destroyer Ashigarafor three days through Saturday. Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force F-15 fighter jets also took part in the drill for two days.
Meanwhile, the Nimitz, the US Navy’s oldest operating aircraft carrier just departed San Diego to head into the Pacific.
The Nimitz will sail with the guided-missile destroyers, according to a US Navy statement.