Sarah Jannings

UNITED STATES- For the past few weeks the American ships, the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nimitz have been travelling to Asia to form a single three-carrier strike group tasked with carrying out the largest exercise of its kind in recent history.  The presence of three US aircraft carriers off the Korean Peninsula is pushing the region closer to nuclear war, according to a North Korean letter to the UN secretary-general.  

The three carriers, the USS Ronald <>kReagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, and their multiship strike groups finished up their journey Tuesday in the water between South Korea and Japan.  It was 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 joined them during the exercise.  The exercises, which also involved US B-1 bombers, help to constitute the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula.  

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.  The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that the presence of the three carriers was part of Washington’s sinister intention to maintain military hegemony in the region.  

Pyongyang accused the United States and its allies, including Japan, of trying to escalate the military tension and increase arms race in the region with each passing day.  A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three US carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese ships, the official said.  Joining the three US carriers and their strike groups were three Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force warships, including the helicopter destroyer.  

South Korean vessels joined exercises with the US warships on Sunday, according to US Navy photos.  The South Korean Defense Ministry said it sent two destroyers, equipped with the Aegis anti-ballistic missile defense system, as well as five other warships to the exercises.  

The ships accompanying the carriers included destroyers and cruisers equipped with the Aegis system as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles.  US attack submarines typically accompany US aircraft carrier strike groups, but the Navy usually keeps their specific locations secret.  

Tensions have skyrocketed because of North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests and exchanges of heated rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leadership.  

Freshman Joe Kissane said, ¨North Korea will eventually start a war.  But we can’t start a war, so if north korea starts the war china has already said they won´t help out.  North Korea is pretty much going to be like you have to move your aircraft carriers but we aren’t going to move them and then probably a war will end up starting.¨