U.S. considers sending aircraft carrier into North Korean waters

The United States is considering sending a carrier strike group (CSG) into North Korean waters in case of any further provocations from the regime, Chosun reported.

The report quoted a government source as saying that the U.S. is considering “a wide range of options” in addition to the latest show of force when B-1B bombers buzzed the North Korean coast. “This includes a U.S. aircraft carrier group crossing over the Northern Limit Line.”

The Northern Limit Line (NLL) is the de facto maritime border separating North Korea and South Korea and is drawn up unilaterally by the U.S. at the end of the Korean War.

A carrier strike group (CSG), an operational formation of the U.S. Navy, is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, an aircraft carrier, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft. A carrier strike group also, on occasion, includes submarines, attached logistics ships and a supply ship.

Carrier Strike Group 5 (CSG 5 or CARSTRKGRU 5), led by USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) aircraft carrier, is to take part in naval drills with South Korean Aegis destroyers and submarines next month.

South Korean and U.S. military officials are also considering deploying B-2 stealth bombers and F-22 stealth fighters to the Korean Peninsula if North Korea resorts to further provocations. The B-2 stealth bombers can carry 16 B61/B83 nuclear bombs and Tomahawk cruise missiles or be loaded with GBU-57 MOP or “bunker buster” missiles that can strike targets 60 m underground.

The B-1B strategic bombers which conduct “show of force” operations against North Korea now are not capable of being armed with nuclear weapons.

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