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U.S. aircraft carrier to arrive in Busan this week

All Headlines 17:13 March 07, 2016

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- The United States' nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), will arrive in South Korea's southern port city of Busan this week to join a combined military exercise, said U.S. naval forces stationed here.

The 7,000-strong USS John C. Stennis Strike Group will make a port visit to Busan on Sunday, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, or CNFK, said in a statement on Monday. The group is led by the 103,000-ton aircraft carrier, that is also the group's flagship.

Three other guided-missile destroyers - the USS Stockdale, USS Chung-Hoon and USS William P. Lawrence -- will join the Busan port visit, along with the USS Mobile Bay cruiser, CNFK said.

The local visit is part of the carrier strike group's participation in the annual Key Resolve military exercise between South Korea and the U.S, which will run from March 7-18.

This year's exercise marks the largest of its kind as the allies strengthen their defense cooperation against North Korea's increasing nuclear and missile threats.

Earlier this year, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and one more long-range missile test, disguised as a satellite launch.

"Approximately 7,000 sailors make up the strike group, which is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," the CNFK said.

During the visit, the personnel will visit and engage with their South Korean Navy partners and conduct cultural exchanges with local citizens, it also said.

The USS John C. Stennis is the U.S. Navy's seventh Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier, loaded with navy and marine aircraft including the F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler combat jets as well as the E-2C Hawkeye early-warning aircraft.

The aircraft carrier's two nuclear reactors provide almost unlimited range of operation and a maximum speed of some 56 kilometers per hour.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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