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US Navy deploys 3 of 11 aircraft carriers in western Pacific – Reports

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Washington: The US Navy has deployed three out of its 11 aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean to boost efforts aimed at deterring China and North Korea, despite rising concerns over possible expansion of the Middle East conflict, the Nikkei Asia newspaper reported on Thursday.

The deployment is the first in two years and involves three US aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vinson, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Ronald Reagan, stationed near an island chain linking Okinawa and Taiwan with the Philippines, the newspaper reported, citing the US Naval Institute.

“What I can say is that the carrier strike group is ready to execute the full range of operations … These training opportunities where we can rapidly aggregate these large, capable, agile platforms here in the Philippine Sea is a great rehearsal opportunity for us,” Rear Adm. Carlos Sardiello, commander of the Carl Vinson strike group, was quoted by Nikkei Asia as telling reporters.

Japan’s military command said on Thursday that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the US Navy had conducted joint drills south of the Japanese island of Okinawa, involving the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as Japanese destroyer Ise. The drills started on January 29 and are running through February 1. US missile cruisers USS Lake Erie, USS Princeton and US Navy destroyers are also taking part in the drills.

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