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U.S. moves second aircraft carrier to North Korea

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The U.S. Navy is moving a second aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula to take part in training exercises, reported Washington Examiner (US).

The Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan there, two days after departing Japan, to conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson, CNN reported on Thursday.

The Navy previously stated that the Reagan was being stationed in the area to relieve the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, sent there in April during a time of rising tensions over North Korea's missile tests.

"Coming out of a long in-port maintenance period we have to ensure that Ronald Reagan and the remainder of the strike group are integrated properly as we move forward," Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in a press release Tuesday.

North Korea declared that Sunday it successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can reach U.S. targets, though the U.S. military is doubtful of that claim.

President Trump warned in April there is a chance of "a major, major conflict with North Korea" in response to increased missile-testing activity from the country. The president said solving the North Korea problem without armed conflict would be preferable, but that it would not be easy. "We'd love to solve things diplomatically, but it's very difficult," he said.

Trump later said he would be "honored" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under "the right circumstances."

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It's not routine for the U.S. to deploy two aircraft carriers simultaneously in a single theater abroad, reported Yonhap News Agency (South Korea).

"USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan are in the Western Pacific, but they are not in close proximity to each other," the Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, a government source here said the two may hold joint drills with South Korea's Navy in the East Sea early next month.

The allies are in consultations on the exact schedule, the source said on the condition of anonymity, adding, "The Reagan is likely to enter the East Sea around the end of this month."

South Korea's military officials said the reclusive North apparently stands ready to conduct another nuclear test. They are concerned as well that it will test-fire a long-range rocket in the near future.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Politics
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