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US sends third aircraft carrier to the Pacific as massive armada looms near North Korea

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 5/06/2017 Alex Lockie

USS Nimitz © Provided by Business Insider Inc USS Nimitz

The USS Nimitz, the US Navy's oldest operating aircraft carrier just departed San Diego to head into the Pacific, where the USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan carriers are already keeping watch over a defiant North Korea.

The Nimitz will sail with the guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd and USS Shoup from their designated carrier strike group, as well as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard and USS Pinckney, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton, according to a US Navy statement.

By Business Insider's count, that will mean the US has three aircraft carriers, two cruisers, and 12 destroyers simultaneously operating in the Pacific, often with Japanese and South Korean navy ships nearby.

While the US Navy has stressed the "routine" nature of these deployments to Business Insider on multiple occasions, there's no denying that this is a huge display of force in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has defined North Korea as a "clear and present danger" to the world, and the UN has moved to once again sanction North Korean businesses and individuals in an attempt to cut off the flow of funds into the world's most heavily militarised country.

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