The three carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, and their multiship strike groups are finishing up four days of exercises Tuesday in the waters between South Korea and Japan.
It is the first time three of the 100,000-ton behemoths have sailed together in the Western Pacific in a decade. South Korean and Japanese warships have joined them during the exercise.
The exercises, which also have involved US B-1 bombers, help to constitute “the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula,” Ja Song Nam, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a letter Monday to the secretary-general.
Washington “is now running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean Peninsula, thereby proving that the US itself is the major offender of the escalation of tension and undermining of the peace,” the letter read.
From the US standpoint, the presence of the three-carrier flotilla in Pacific waters is seen as a signal to North Korea that the United States will not be intimidated by Pyongyang’s testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
“We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world (to the Korean Peninsula), and a nuclear submarine is also positioned,” President Donald Trump said after his arrival last week in South Korea.
During his trip, Trump struck a tough tone on North Korea, calling for an end to its nuclear program and saying “we hope to God we never have to use” the military strength the United States has on the Korean Peninsula.
“This exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region,” Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.