|The U.S. Navy's Carl Vinson Strike Group holds a joint exercise with South Korean warships in the East Sea in this undated file photo provided by South Korea's Navy. / Yonhap|
By Lee Han-soo
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan will join the USS Carl Vinson for a military drill in the East Sea, according to CNN, citing a U.S. Department of Defense official on Saturday.
The move, just days after North Korea conducted a missile test, is the first time two U.S. aircraft carriers have conducted a drill in the East Sea.
The USS Ronald Reagan, which had been undergoing maintenance at its homeport in Yokosuka, Japan, returned to sea on May 16, according to the U.S. Navy.
The aircraft carrier will take part in a variety of training exercises mainly focused on certifying its ability to launch and recover aircraft safely. It is also expected to replace the USS Carl Vinson in the region.
Meanwhile, North Korea has stepped up its provocation by firing a ground-to-ground Pukguksong-2 missile in the country's western province on Sunday.
The launch was the second in a week, following the test of a mid-to-long-range ballistic missile called the Hwasong-12 on May 14.
After the latest missile test on Sunday, North Korea warned the U.S. not to provoke the North, saying that U.S. mainland and Pacific operations were now within range of North Korean missiles.