THOUSANDS of US and Japanese naval forces are surrounding an island in Japan as North Korea continues to threaten war with the west.
The pride of the US Navy the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived outside Okinawa with fearsome guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem, USS Chafee and USS Mustin.
A staggering 14,000 troops will take part in the exercises as the White House ordered flexing of US military might in the region.
US Navy F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) are expected to be involved.
Marines and naval officers will take part in firing tests, fly overs and mock battles in a bid to ensure they are each ready for conflict with the North.
Highly trained maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron will spend ten days in the area, in an action which is likely to provoke North Korea.
The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan is one of America’s fearsome Nimitz-class super-carriers. She is a key part of the US Pacific Fleet and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five home-ported in Japan.
She is more than 1,000 feet long, caost $4.5Bn, and with more than 5,600 military personnel on board she is the size of a small American town.
Her wing of more than 90 aircraft and helicopters includes the incredibly capable multirole combat jet the F/A-18 Hornet. The Hornet has a top speed of 1,200 and carries an array of hyper-destructive air-to-ground missiles.
Hornets from the USS Ronald Reagan could be over Pyongyang in less than 30 minutes.
America’s ability to deploy a huge armada, packed with terrifying weaponry will send a strong signal to Pyongyang as Kim Jong-Un refuses to end the advancement of his nuclear programme.
Recent military drills have enraged the North. The United States and South Korea conducted large-scale military drills last week, which the North said made the outbreak of war “an established fact”.
The ten day annual bilateral training exercise comes as North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests show no sign of slowing down.
The drills began on Thursday in Okinawa, an are missiles have been launched over.
Pentagon officials openly admitted the aim is to put the fear in North Korea, to show them what they are up against.
Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. told Pentagon reporters: “For forward deployed forces, exercises are a critical component to readiness. They do, in fact, assure our partners.”
“They also exercise a powerful deterring effect.”
The exercise follows joint naval exercises in the Western Pacific involving U.S. and South Korean naval forces.
On Sunday, Japan’s largest war ship took part in war games with the US Air Force’s B-1B Lancer bombers.
The high tech jets flew from Andersen Air Force Base on the US Pacific island territory of Guam, joined by six F-35s four F-18s and a tanker aircraft from U.S. bases in Japan.
The Japanese air force dispatched four F-15 jet fighters and a patrol aircraft, Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.
China and Russia have proposed that the United States and South Korea stop major military exercises in the area in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programs.
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson refused to give in to demands, such as Russia being around the table, but urged the North to keep lines of communication open.
North Korea has continuously sparked fears of the outbreak of World War 3 as Kim Jong-un refuses to give up his ambitions to become the “world’s strongest nuclear power”.
The despot leader and Donald Trump become embroiled in a furious war of words as either side threatened the prospect of military strikes on one another.
Despite the threats, Mr Trump’s Administration has announced they would like to seek a diplomatic solution to the apparent crisis, bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.
US Defence Secretary Rex Tillerson said he didn’t expect North Korea to drop its weapons programme, but would happily even discuss the weather if it meant Washington and Pyongyang were sitting around the same table.