SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Navy on Friday disputed the South Korean military's recent announcement that the U.S. will dispatch four warships, including an aircraft carrier, for an international fleet review slated to occur on the southern island of Jeju next month.
A U.S. naval official said that no decision has been made yet on how many warships the U.S. will send to the once-in-a-decade event or even whether the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will join it, contrary to the Korean Navy's announcement earlier this week.
"Specifically, all of the details are still in progress. We haven't actually confirmed who we're sending as far as which ship and how many," the U.S. official told Yonhap News Agency, noting that the U.S. Navy will anyway partake in the Oct. 10-14 fleet review.
"I think (the Korean Navy) just sent (the press release) a little preemptively, and made it sound that maybe, it was confirmed, but it is not. ... It could have just been a misunderstanding in terms of ... they thought maybe, we were all settled on what we were doing. ... I am not sure."
The official added, "We don't talk about future operation."
A military source here said that the South Korean Navy has contacted the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the office of the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations to request the participation of American warships in the fleet review.
Some observers suspect that with President Donald Trump apparently reluctant to spend money for the operation of large military assets for Korea, Washington could dither on whether to send the aircraft carrier to the naval event, particularly amid diplomacy to persuade North Korea to denuclearize.
The fleet review is designed to promote harmony and world peace with the participation of naval vessels from many countries. South Korea first held the international event in 1998 to mark the 50th anniversary of its military. It has since held the event every decade.
Source: Yonhap News Agency