ARLINGTON, Va. — The USS Kitty Hawk is headed to the Strait of Taiwan ahead of Saturday’s presidential election in Taiwan, published reports said.

The Kyodo News Service reported on Wednesday that the Kitty Hawk’s presence off Taiwan was meant to ensure that the country’s elections go smoothly.

The news had previously been reported by the United Daily News, a Chinese-language newspaper on Taiwan, according to the Kyodo News Service story.

Asked about the reports, a Defense Department spokesman said the Kitty Hawk had recently finished sea trials after a regularly scheduled maintenance period at its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan.

“Kitty Hawk is currently under way conducting routine training and aircraft qualification work-ups,” said Marine Maj. Stewart Upton.

Upton did not say where the ship was headed, but a Defense Department official confirmed that the USS Kitty Hawk would be in the vicinity of Taiwan in the near future.

The Kitty Hawk is the Navy’s oldest carrier and is slated to be replaced by the USS George Washington this summer as the Navy’s forward deployed carrier in the Pacific theater.

The Kitty Hawk is expected to leave Japan this year and head first to Hawaii, then to San Diego until finally to Bremerton, Wash., for inactivation.

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