USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is en route to the western Pacific. It’s expected to join USS Ronald Reagan, currently conducting joint military exercises with Japanese military near Okinawa.
According to the US military, the USS Roosevelt will focus on maritime security operations in the Pacific and Middle East, although South Korean media claim the warship has been sent to boost US defenses near the Korean peninsula.
Admiral Steve Koehler, a strike group commander on the ship, said the 7,500 sailors and marines on the vessel are “ready as a war fighting force”.
“The US Navy carrier strike group is the most versatile, capable force at sea,” he said in a statement before the ship’s launch. “After nearly a year of training and integration exercises, the entire team is ready as a warfighting force and ready to carry out the nation’s tasking.”
Tensions have been rising near North Korea amidst rumors of a new missile test capable of reaching the US West Coast. The nuclear powered submarine USS Michigan arrived at port in Busan, South Korea on October 13 as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. Six US planes – including a “nuclear sniffer” and two Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers – took part in the brazen show of force on October 12.