Three US aircraft carriers set for joint drill near Korea

Dozens of anti Trump protesters gathered in Seoul to protest against Mr Trump's visit to South Korea

The drill will include the USS Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and their accompanying warships, the first time three United States aircraft carrier strike groups have exercised together in the region in a decade.

The San Diego-based carrier Theodore Roosevelt is joining two other flattops for a major exercise in the western Pacific that begins Saturday.

The deployment of the three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the region comes amid a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Asia.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a trip late last month to South Korea, was at pains to stress that diplomacy was America's preferred course to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in global waters off the Korean peninsula from Saturday through Tuesday in order to demonstrate the Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier groups as a coordinated force.

"The strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training", said a statement from the Navy's 7th Fleet, which is responsible for monitoring the Pacific including North Korea.

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Recently, the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific region that included the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Philippine Sea.

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. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007.

The exercise will involve three of the Navy's 11 carriers, and concentrate more aircraft carriers the combined fleets of China and Russian Federation. It is committed to maintain the security commitments for the next 70 years, the report added.

South Korea's military announced its participation on Friday.

Trump on Tuesday reiterated his goal to achieve what he called "peace through strength", warning the US could use "the full range of our unmatched military capabilities" against Pyongyang.

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