US carrier makes show of strength off Korean Peninsula

US carrier makes show of strength off Korean Peninsula
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The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier on Thursday made a show of strength off the Korean Peninsula to warn North Korea against any aggressive military action, Reuters reported Thursday.

The move included 40 warships as well as air power, with the carrier launching nearly 90 F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets from its deck.

“The dangerous and aggressive behavior by North Korea concerns everybody in the world,” Rear Admiral Marc Dalton, commander of the ship's strike group, told the news wire. “We have made it clear with this exercise, and many others, that we are ready to defend the Republic of Korea.”

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The move is part of a larger, ongoing exercise with the U.S. and South Korea conducting joint naval drills.

North Korea has already issued a warning in response to the exercise, threatening the U.S. with a nuclear strike.

“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones," the state-controlled news agency KCNA warned Thursday, Newsweek reported. "The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time."

The exercise comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang after North Korea conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear tests. The country is making progress toward developing a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S.

President Trump has recently stepped up his rhetoric against Pyongyang, threatening last month to "totally destroy North Korea" if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

The exercises come ahead of Trump's first official trip to Asia, where he is slated to visit Japan and then South Korea early next month.