There is no evidence that President Trump’s insults on Twitter have convinced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to slow down his nuclear weapons program. But the administration is hoping a show of military strength is more persuasive.
F-18 fighter jets from the USS Ronald Reagan could strike targets in North Korea in a matter of minutes. Three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups the Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Nimitz are involved in massive military exercises just off the Korean Peninsula. It’s the largest display of U.S. naval strength in the Western Pacific in a decade.
If a conflict with North Korea broke out, they can launch a fighter jet off the carrier once every 20 seconds. But of course, they then have to get them back onboard.
“All of this together this shows the U.S. military will defend itself,” Rear Adm. Marc Dalton said.
Dalton commands one of the three carrier strike groups. He said having three carriers that support more than 200 aircraft is a rare training opportunity.
“The more strike groups you can get together, the more complex it is, and we get training value out of that,” Dalton said.
The U.S.-led exercises infuriate North Korea, which views them as rehearsals for an invasion and calls the latest drill “reckless” and “provocative.”
China and Russia have called on the U.S. to end the large-scale military exercises, saying they needlessly provoke North Korea. But the U.S. says it has to be prepared.