USS Ronald Reagan and ships of its attack companionship arrived Friday at a naval base in the port city of Busan, about 200 miles from Seoul.
According to Reuters, the arrival of the US aircraft carrier is the most significant deployment yet under renewed impetus to abandon US nuclear “strategic assets” in the region to deter Pyongyang.
The arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan also marks the first time in about four years that an American aircraft carrier has called in South Korea.
Yoon Suk-yeol, who was elected president of South Korea by about 250,000 votes, has pushed for more joint exercises since taking office in May.
He previously suggested that relations between Seoul and Pyongyang could continue to sour.
In his victory speech, Yoon said, “I will respond sternly to North Korea’s illegal and unreasonable acts according to principles, but always leave the door open for South-North dialogue.”
President Yoon also met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, when the pair agreed on the need to improve relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
The meeting, which took place in New York when world leaders met ahead of the UN General Assembly, was the first between the leaders of the respective nations since 2019.
Yoon’s deputy spokesman Lee Jae-myoung said: “The two leaders agreed on the need to improve relations by resolving pending issues, for which they agreed to accelerate diplomatic talks and continue discussions between them.”
However, observers suggest that North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear tests for the first time since 2017.
Pyongyang recently condemned joint exercises in the region as rehearsals for warfare.