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    USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, leaves from its home port to be deployed in waters near Japan, in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 16, 2017

    US Redeploys Aircraft Carrier to Korean Peninsula, But It Isn't About Pyongyang

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    In an interview with Sputnik, Russian security expert Lev Korolkov commented on a possible goal of the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan being redeployed to the Korean Peninsula.

    A second aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is being deployed off the Korean coast after a new ballistic missile test by Pyongyang, US defense sources told local media on Thursday.

    The Ronald Reagan is ultimately expected to replace the USS Carl Vinson, which was stationed near the Korean Peninsula last month as a show of force amid rising tensions in the region, CNN reported.

    The two carriers will conduct joint military exercises later this month, CNN quoted Navy officials as saying. The USS Ronald Reagan reportedly left Japanese waters on Tuesday after undergoing maintenance in Yokosuka.

    The latest North Korean missile test was carried out on Sunday, when a ground-to-ground intermediate ballistic missile fell into the Sea of Japan.The next day, the country's government confirmed the missile had successfully reentered the Earth's lower atmosphere.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Russian security expert Lev Korolkov described what the US Navy hoped to accomplish by redeploying the Ronald Reagan.

    "First of all, it is a show of force and an attempt to put pressure on Russia and China, the main powerhouses in this region. The second task is to support Washington's allies, namely, Japan and South Korea. And only lastly, it is directed against North Korea," Korolkov said.

    According to him, everyone knows perfectly well that despite the declarations of its leader Kim Jong UN, North Korea will never be the first to launch an attack.

    "Even so, the US wants to exert pressure on Pyongyang to make it suspend work on developing nuclear weapons, given that North Korea is making some progress in this field. But there will be no conflict because neither side is ready for it," Korolkov concluded. 

    Meanwhile, media reported that newly-acquired satellite images show that North Korea is modernizing its Sohae Satellite Launching Station located in the North Pyongan province, from which four ballistic missiles were launched in March 2017.

    According to the analytical portal 38 North, the footage showed on Thursday that new roads were being constructed all through the launch site. The images also revealed new observation points and an excavation serving a yet-unknown purpose near the launching pad.

    On March 6, North Korea launched four missiles from Sohae in the direction of the Sea of Japan and tested a new high-thrust rocket engine 12 days later.

    Since the beginning of 2016, North Korea has carried out a number of missile launches and nuclear tests, prompting worldwide criticism and an escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula.

    As a result of Pyongyang's actions, the UN Security Council tightened sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to force the country to put an end to its ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests.

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    Tags:
    force, redeployment, pressure, aircraft carrier, nuclear weapons, USS Ronald Reagan, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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