Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt leading a formation of ships from Carrier Strike Group. Photo: AFP

Yonhap cites South Korean military sources as saying it “remains unconfirmed” if the US will deploy a second super carrier to Korean waters.

South Korea’s state news agency was reacting to intense speculation in the local press that the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escorting warships are heading for the peninsula in a show of force. The attention comes amid reports that the Trump administration is again reviewing military options in response to North Korea’s nuclear threat.

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group with its estimated 7,500 sailors and marines departed San Diego, California on Friday for what’s said to be a “scheduled deployment” to the western Pacific and the Middle East. The Japan-based carrier USS Ronald Reagan is already in route to participate in joint US-South Korean naval exercises in the East Sea near South Korea.

Yonhap’s sources left open the possibility that the Roosevelt might be diverted to Korea in a so-called “dual-carrier” operation. But they stressed that this was not a logistically easy move.

If the Roosevelt joins the Reagan in the region, the US and its allies will have two powerful carrier groups within striking range of North Korea.

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