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Three-Carrier Strike Force Exercise to Commence in Western Pacific

Three US supercarriers to conduct joint drills in waters off Korean peninsula

The nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt will conduct the drills to show the US Navy's unique capability to operate multi-carrier strike groups, according to the Seventh Fleet in a statement released from its headquarters on the Japanese base of Yokosuka.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday the drill involving three aircraft carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific would be carried out for the first time in a decade, confirming a Reuters report.

The drills began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast.

The U.S. and South Korea kick-off a landmark operation in the Western Pacific.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train three", said Admiral Scott Swift, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander.

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in worldwide waters to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

The JCS said in a statement that the exercise was seeking to strengthen and expand the dissuasive strategy to prevent Pyongyang from carrying out further provocations in the form of arms tests.

"All relevant sides should exercise restraint, avoid irritating each other, dedicate themselves to lowering the tense situation on the peninsula, and at the same time make positive efforts to get the North Korean nuclear issue back on a track to a resolution via talks as soon as possible", Hua said, reiterating the long-held Chinese position.

The Navy noted that for more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region.

APEC brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region. Ronald Reagan participated in VS 2006 while Nimitz took part in VS 2007.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Thursday confirmed to media that this will be the first time that the ROK and the USA navies stage joint bilateral drills with the three aircraft carriers in waters off the east coast of the country. He is from Varna, Bulgaria and work have experience in management and development of maritime websites.