Three U.S. aircraft carriers will drill in the Western Pacific in the days ahead as President Donald Trump travels through Asia.
The president is on a tour of the Asia-Pacific region that will take him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. During his travels, the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Theodore Roosevelt will conduct exercises in the region, putting on an unusual display of American maritime strength. The last time three carrier strike groups exercised together was a decade ago, Reuters revealed, citing U.S. officials.
The exercises send a message to regional rivals, the most pressing of which is North Korea.
Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric is increasingly backed by a realistic capability, as the regime demonstrated through its two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the continental U.S. and its detonation of a suspected staged thermonuclear bomb.
The presence of three carriers in the region reminds regional challengers of America’s unmatched capabilities.
“It does demonstrate a capability that no other nation in the world can do,” Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr explained in late October. China is taking steps to develop a blue water navy and building a carrier fleet, but it’s program is still in the early stages. China has one operational carrier — the Liaoning, an old Soviet-era vessel that was converted into a more modern naval asset, but it’s capabilities are still inferior to those of the U.S. Navy.
The main focus of the president’s tour of Asia is North Korea. Shortly after arriving in Japan Sunday, Trump addressed American troops and issued an unmistakable warning to Kim Jong-un, the young North Korean dictator destabilizing the region through frequent provocations.
“No one, no dictator, no regime … should underestimate American resolve,” Trump said at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
“Every once in a while in the past they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them,” the president continued. “It was not pleasant. We will never yield. Never waiver, and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”
“We dominate the sky. We dominate the sea. We dominate the land and space,” he told U.S. troops, further remarking: “You are the greatest threat to tyrants and dictators who seek to prey on the innocent.”
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