(LEAD) U.S. aircraft carrier may be deployed to S. Korea for joint drills next month: source
(ATTN: RECASTS 3rd para)
SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are in consultation over the possible deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Korea for allied drills next month, an informed source said Friday.
The move is in tune with the allies' stepped-up efforts to reinforce deterrence following the North's missile provocations, including the launch of a long-range ballistic missile last Saturday.
If agreed, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, a centerpiece of America's naval might, is likely to make a port call in South Korea and take part in maritime drills in connection with the allies' springtime Freedom Shield exercise to begin in the middle of March, according to observers.
The U.S. previously sent the USS Ronald Reagan carrier to the peninsula last year.
Seoul's defense ministry refused to confirm whether the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be deployed to Korea anytime soon.
"The deployment of the U.S.' key military assets has proceeded in close consultation between South Korea and the U.S.," it said in a press statement.
During the allies' annual defense ministerial talks in November last year, the two sides agreed to increase the frequency and intensity in the deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the peninsula. Strategic assets usually mean aircraft carriers, strategic bombers and nuclear-powered submarines.
(URGENT) Seoul city sends alert to residents to prepare for evacuation after N. Korea's launch
Seoul city sends alert to residents to prepare for possible evacuation after N. Korea's launch
Tottenham star Son Heung-min returns home after up-and-down Premier League season
(9th LD) N. Korea's attempt to launch 1st spy satellite fails after 'abnormal' flight: S. Korean military
(2nd LD) Seoul city erroneously sends emergency alert after N.K. launch
(News Focus) Failed N.K. space rocket launch shows both technological challenges, growing space ambitions: analysts
At G-7 summit, Yoon focuses on Japan, global community, Ukraine
Nurses, doctors clash over controversial nursing act
Series of earthquakes off eastern coast raises concerns of bigger tremor
S. Korea, Japan apparently split over nature of Seoul's Fukushima inspection mission