Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) has left Busan, Korea for joint exercises between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, according to a Monday statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.
“The operations are taking place beyond the territorial seas of any coastal nations and are intended to reinforce regional security and stability, enhance interoperability with our allies, and increase operational proficiency and readiness,” read the statement.
Nimitz arrived at Busan on Saturday for a port call ahead of the two-day exercise. The arrival of the carrier to the region sparked protest from North Korean officials.
Pyongyang issued a statement over the weekend calling Nimitz’ presence in the region, “an open threat and blackmail against the DPRK (North Korea), and a grave military provocation to unleash a nuclear war against it at any cost on the Korean Peninsula.”
North Korea issued similar statements when the Japan-based carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) was in the region, June 2012.
Nimitz will be accompanied by, “the embarked Commander Carrier Strike Group 11 and carrier Air Wing 11; the guided-missile cruisers USS Princeton (CG-59) and USS Chosin (CG-65); and guided missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG-88), according to 7th Fleet.
The arrival of Nimitz to Busan caused a minor stir when North Korean media announced the ship’s intended arrival to the port ahead of official confirmation from the Navy.
“An investigation found that posts on a camera club’s website about the impending arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier, combined with a previous post on a U.S. Navy site announced the Nimitz’ arrival in the 7th Fleet’s jurisdiction,” was the likely casue of the North Korean release according to a report from Stars and Stripes.
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