US Nuclear Carrier Conducts Naval Drills with Japan as North Korea Threatens H-bomb Test
The 100,000-ton US Navy supercarrier ‘Ronald Reagan’ has conducted drills with Japanese warships south of the Korean Peninsula, Japan's military said. Pyongyang, meanwhile, has threatened a further “hydrogen bomb test” over the Pacific.
The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force said in a statement on Friday that the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier ‘Ronald Reagan,’ based in the Japanese town of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and its escort ships have been holding drills with Japanese Navy vessels in waters south and west of Japan's main islands since September 11. The strike group is also set to stage a separate drill with the South Korean Navy in October, the Defense Ministry added.
The large-scale drill will involve three Japanese warships, including two destroyers and one of the country's two biggest helicopter carriers, and will run until the end of the month.
On Friday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that Pyongyang is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. The move is said to be in response to Washington stepping up economic sanctions against North Korea.
"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific," Ri said, as quoted by South Korean agency Yonhap.
The suggestion came as Ri was asked to clarify the latest statement by Kim Jong-un, in which the North Korean leader vowed revenge against US President Donald Trump for insulting him and his country “in front of the eyes of the world” by threatening “to destroy” North Korea.
In a statement issued by North Korean state-run agency KCNA on Friday, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding highest level of hardline countermeasure in history,” while promising that the US will “pay dearly” for Trump’s remarks at the UN General Assembly.
Kim then said that “whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”