A US naval carrier group is in waters off the Korean peninsula, after South Korean media reported the ships were deployed amid tensions over North Korea’s recent missile tests.
An official from the US navy said the USS Abraham Lincoln group is in the Sea of Japan for exercises with Japanese forces to reassure allies and partners in the region.
The move comes with the United States increasingly concerned North Korea could carry out an underground nuclear test.
This is the first time since 2017 a carrier group has deployed to the waters between South Korea and Japan.
That year the USS Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, and their multi-ship strike groups, deployed in a show of force over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons tests.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited unnamed sources who said the USS Abraham Lincoln would be operating in the area for three to five days.
Advisors to South Korea’s president-elect sought redeployment of US strategic assets, such as aircraft carriers, nuclear bombers and submarines, to the Korean peninsula during talks held on a visit to Washington last week.
North Korea has previously criticised US military drills as a rehearsal for war, and said they increase tensions.