The Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups steamed along side by side Thursday near North Korea in the biggest show of U.S. naval force since the regime stepped up its missile program.
Photos and video released by the Navy shows the aircraft carriers with their accompanying destroyers and cruisers alongside Japanese Self Defense Force ships in the Sea of Japan.
The meet-up and joint exercise come just days after North Korea tested yet another ballistic missile and leader Kim Jong Un promised to send a bigger "gift package" to the U.S.
The North has dramatically stepped up testing and development, raising fears it could soon develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Hawaii or even the continental United States.
JUST IN: @USNavy video shows Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups operating with Japanese navy ships in the Sea of Japan. pic.twitter.com/kB2E521icO— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) June 2, 2017
The USS Carl Vinson strike group, based in San Diego, was sent to the area by the Trump administration in April as a message to Pyongyang, sparking angry threats of retaliation. It is slated to return to California this summer.
The USS Ronald Reagan, which is homeported at a Navy base near Tokyo, resumed operations May 16 after finishing up a maintenance period.