'Rare opportunity': Pentagon confirms joint drill of 3 aircraft carriers in Pacific

The USS Ronald Reagan and two other carriers will conduct drills during Donald Trump's Asia visit

The USS Ronald Reagan and two other carriers will conduct drills during Donald Trump's Asia visit

In what is bound to be seen as a direct provocation by North Korea, the US Navy's USS Nimitz, the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Theodore Roosevelt will be leading their respective strike groups in the training missions in the Western Pacific.

The units that have been assigned the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in global waters to demonstrate the United States Navy's unique potential to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort, according to the official website of the Commander, U.S. 7 Fleet. This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam.

Animosity between the U.S. and the isolated regime could increase further when the first three-aircraft carrier exercise begins on Saturday.

Admiral Scott Swift, US Pacific Fleet commander, said: "This exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region".

The three aircraft carriers are expected to link up in the Sea of Japan later this week off the Korean Peninsula, a US defense official tells Fox News.

The new missile defense funding will address an increasing threat from North Korea, Trump said. Speaking in Tokyo on Monday, Trump renewed his warning that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea was over.

The U.S. has sent a number of its so-called strategic assets to the area - including carriers, heavy bombers and high-tech submarines - as part of a concerted push to heap pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.

He said of the North Korean threats to strike the USA and its allies, "That would be a fatal miscalculation".

Just days ahead of Trump's visit to Japan, the first stop on his Asia tour, the USA sent two B-1B heavy bombers from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam for bilateral missions with South Korean Air Force fighter jets and Air Self-Defense Force warplanes.

Their presence is a formidable show of force against North Korea. That includes current and projected threats to the USA homeland, Guam, South Korea and Japan.

On Wednesday, North Korea accused Seoul of "blindly" siding with the United States, which it said was planning a nuclear war on the peninsula.

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