Sailors stand on the the deck of the USS John C. Stennis prior to a regularly scheduled deployment. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
SEOUL, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- South Korea is in discussion with the United States regarding the deployment of the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier near the peninsula.
The nuclear aircraft carrier, which left the western coast of the United States on Friday, can sail anywhere from Japan to the southern Pacific, USNI News reported.
Seoul's Defense Ministry said Tuesday discussions are in progress regarding its deployment in the wake of North Korea's fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo reported.
The vessel could dock in Yokosuka, Japan, home to a U.S. naval base. The base is hosting the USS Ronald Reagan, another Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier.
The Navy has described the seven-month deployment as "regularly scheduled," but the carrier is also transporting 3,100 "combat-ready" sailors.
The crew is expected to train with regional allies while participating in a number of exercises.
The United States demonstrated a show of force when the Air Force dispatched B-52 and B-2 bombers to South Korea on Jan. 10. North Korea condemned the move, calling it "stupid," adding it would take on nuclear threats with a nuclear response.
On Tuesday, a North Korea state media outlet said the United States is the greatest source of nuclear provocations. Since early January, North Korea has issued a number of anti-U.S. statements, as Washington and its allies seek tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.
In its statement Tuesday, Pyongyang said the United States has conducted 1,032 nuclear tests since 1945, far outpacing rival Russia, China and France, South Korean outlet Newsis reported.
In the same statement, North Korea said the United States has spent $1 trillion during 30 years of nuclear weapons development, and that the Pentagon has been testing miniature precision-guided bombs in the Nevada desert.
A new precision-guided bomb, the B61-12, is being developed to target North Korea, Pyongyang stated.