USS Theodore Roosevelt arrives in Busan in show of force

The Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is anchored in Busan, South Korea, Saturday. - Photo: Reuters-Yonhap

SEOUL: The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) arrived at a naval port in the southeastern city of Busan on Saturday (June 22), the Navy said, in a show of force against evolving North Korean threats emboldened by the North's deepening military cooperation with Russia.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the Carrier Strike Group 9 entered the naval base in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, early Saturday, joined by the Aegis-equipped destroyer USS Halsey and the USS Daniel Inouye, according to the Navy.

It marked the first arrival of a US aircraft carrier in South Korea in seven months since the USS Carl Vinson's visit in November.

It also marked the first port call in Busan by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which took part in a trilateral naval exercise among South Korea, the United States and Japan in April.

Saturday's arrival came as the three countries are expected to hold their first-ever trilateral multidomain exercise, dubbed the Freedom Edge, later this month amid joint efforts to bolster security cooperation against North Korean threats.

The three sides agreed to launch the exercise during their three-way talks held on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference earlier this month.

It takes its name from key bilateral exercises the US holds with the Asian neighbors -- Freedom Shield with South Korea and Keen Edge with Japan.

Under the agreement, the exercise will take place across various domains, including air, maritime, underwater and cyber.

It also comes as relations between North Korea and Russia are feared to further strengthen after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a pact pledging mutual defense in the event of war during a summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday.

The Navy said the latest visit was conducted to carry out the "ironclad" US extended deterrence commitment and display the robust South Korea-US combined defense posture and will for stern response against evolving North Korean threats. - The Korea Herald/ANN

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