For fear of nuclear weapons tests: USA and South Korea plan joint military exercises to deter North Korea

In the run-up to a joint military exercise, a US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Friday for the first time in around five years.

The arrival of the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan in the port city of Busan proves the “strength of the alliance between South Korea and the United States,” a Defense Ministry official in Seoul told AFP news agency. The exercise is intended to send a signal of strength to internationally isolated North Korea.

The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan approaches the port of Busan, South Korea.
The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan approaches the port of Busan, South Korea.
© Uncredited/REUTERS / Yonhap News Agency

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who was sworn in in May, would like to increase the number of joint maneuvers with the United States in view of the ongoing tensions with Pyongyang. According to the South Korean Defense Ministry, the planned exercise should “deter North Korea from threats with nuclear weapons and missiles”.

Since the beginning of the year, Pyongyang has tested more weapon systems than ever before. On September 9, the authoritarian country published a law declaring a pre-emptive nuclear strike permissible. Pyongyang also ruled out nuclear disarmament in the country.

South Korea and the United States fear that Pyongyang could test nuclear weapons for the first time since 2017. Washington is Seoul’s most important military ally. Around 28,500 US soldiers are stationed in South Korea. (AFP)

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