Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at N. Korea

Donald Trump said he saw some progress in regards to North Korea but declined to comment on holding direct talks with Pyongyang

The Japanese ships Ise, Inazuma and Makinami will sail with the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea on Sunday, Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force said in a press release.

Also to be mobilized are 11 U.S. Aegis ships and seven South Korean warships, including two Aegis vessels.

It is the first such triple-carrier drill in the region for a decade.

The upcoming practice is aimed at bolstering the South Korea-U.S. alliance's policy of "extended deterrence" against the North's nuclear and missile provocations, it added.

According to Swift, the operation will act as a reminder to North Korea that the U.S.is strongly committed "to the security and stability of the region".

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In recent months, North Korea has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the US mainland with further development and has conducted its most powerful nuclear test.

The last time such drills were held was during the Valiant Shield exercises in 2006 and 2007, which took place off the coast of the USA territory of Guam, which hosts two US military bases and is on the North Korean radar for a potential missile strike. It also flew two new midrange missiles over Japan and threatened to launch them toward Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.

The show of force comes just days after Trump vowed to back his allies in Asia.

In a speech to the South Korean parliament on Wednesday, Trump warned North Korea not to underestimate the United States, while offering leader Kim Jong-Un a better future if he gives up his nuclear ambitions.

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