The US Navy has announced that it would deploy the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to Japan in the summer of 2015 to replace USS George Washington.
USS Ronald Reagan, commissioned in 2003, will be moved from San Diego to the Yokosuka Naval Base as part of the Pentagon’s efforts to bolster combat readiness in the Pacific region where tensions have flared in recent months over a tiny Japanese-controlled island chain also claimed by China.
“The security environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific requires that the US Navy station the most capable ships forward,” the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.
The Pentagon has said the US-Japan defense treaty covers the disputed island chain, known as the Senkakus in Japan and as the Diaoyus in China. Under the treaty, the US is required to come to Japan’s aid if it comes under attack.
Washington has urged China and Japan to resolve the dispute peacefully, but tensions increased in November when Beijing declared an “air defense zone” in the East China Sea, requiring all planes to identify themselves before entering the zone.
The George Washington carrier will move to Norfolk, Virginia to complete a multi-year nuclear refueling and overhaul.
Most of the crew of the George Washington will transfer over to USS Reagan, Å“so there will be no mass movement of families overseas,” Jon Nylander, a Navy spokesman in Japan, said Wednesday.
The US Navy currently has 10 aircraft carriers with one usually under maintenance.
Source: Press TV