As of Friday afternoon, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, with nearly 80 aircraft on board, along with a guided-missile cruiser were in the South China Sea on their way to the shores of US ally South Korea.
The two allies will conduct joint drills to detect, track, and intercept ballistic missiles, in addition to anti-submarine warfare training.
The drills are to prepare the US military to defend its allies as well as maintain stability in the area, Rear Admiral Marc Dalton, commander of the USS Ronald Reagan’s strike group, told the South China Morning Post.
“The United States has been very clear about leveraging all options in order to get North Korea to change its path,” Dalton said.
Meanwhile, a Russian lawmaker, who has just returned from North Korea, Pyongyang is ready to test a missile capable of reaching the US western coast.
Russia has censured the military exercises the US and its allies regularly conduct near the Korean Peninsula saying they are provoking North Korea’s leadership into taking a confrontational stance
“The massive maneuvers staged near the coast of North Korea are apparently meant to taunt the North Korean leader [Kim Jong-un], to provoke him into some sloppy action,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms controls department, said last week.
"They are preparing for a new test of a longer-range missile. They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the western coast of the United States," Morozov said.
"In the near future, they are going to carry out, as far as we understand, yet another launch of a missile, but this time with a longer range," the lawmaker said, adding that the general mood in Pyongyang is "rather belligerent."
Morozov stressed that the situation demands a prompt intervention of all interested states, especially those represented in that region, in order to prevent full-scale hostilities.
The Russian delegation was on an official visit in the North Korean capital on October 2-6, the Russian embassy in North Korea said earlier. The lawmakers discussed bilateral cooperation with the Russian ambassador to North Korea.
The current tensions on the Korean Peninsula started following increased provocations by the US which includes military drills and deployment of warships and submarines in the region.
Pyongyang insists that developing its military defenses including nuclear weapons is important to counter incessant provocations by the US including a possible nuclear aggression.