(LEAD) USS Abraham Lincoln to be deployed near Korea this week: sources
(ATTN: UPDATES with USFK spokesperson's statement in paras 5-6)
SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is scheduled to enter the international waters of the East Sea later this week, informed sources here said Monday, in an apparent show of force to deter possible North Korean provocations.
The USS Abraham Lincoln strike group will stay in the waters for about five days in what would be the first such entry there since November 2017, according to the sources.
The move comes amid concerns that Pyongyang could engage in provocative acts, such as the launch of another intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear test, in time for its major political events later this month.
The North is set to celebrate the 110th birth anniversary of its late founding leader Kim Il-sung on Friday and the founding anniversary of the North Korean People's Revolutionary Army on April 25.
Col. Lee Peters, the spokesperson for the U.S. Forces Korea, refused to comment on the planned carrier operation in the East Sea.
"As a matter of operational security, we do not discuss future U.S. military missions or operations," he said in a statement.
In November 2017, the U.S. sent three flattops -- USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt -- to the East Sea operational area, called the Korea Theater of Operations (KTO), in an unprecedented display of force against North Korea.
Major N. Korean websites offline as of Tuesday morning
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