SEOUL--As part of efforts to guard against military provocations by North Korea, the United States will deploy a second aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean Peninsula.

A source with the U.S. military based in South Korea said that the USS Ronald Reagan strike group will sail to the Sea of Japan from its home port at Yokosuka Naval Base.

A strike force centered on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has been patrolling the waters off the Korean Peninsula since late April. With the dispatch of the Ronald Reagan, there is now the possibility that the U.S. Navy could have two carriers at the same time in those waters.

The Carl Vinson is expected to remain off the Korean Peninsula until June.

The aircraft carrier was deployed in the wake of repeated ballistic missile launches as well as a possible sixth nuclear test by North Korea.

Deploying the Reagan strike group off the Korean Peninsula would send a strong message that the Trump administration was taking the possible threat from North Korea very seriously.

The Ronald Reagan had been undergoing scheduled maintenance at Yokosuka, but left the port on May 16 to begin a surveillance mission.

During a visit to Japan in late April, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence went to Yokosuka Naval Base and spoke to sailors aboard the Ronald Reagan.

"The United States will strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific," he said at that time.