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The USS Kitty Hawk’s replacement won’t have much time in port at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, after its late-September arrival. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is expected in South Korea in early October, according to the South Korean navy.

The USS George Washington is expected to be portside in Busan from Oct. 5 to Oct. 10 for South Korea’s International Fleet Review marking the navy’s 60th anniversary, according to South Korean officials.

U.S. Navy officials from 7th Fleet and Commander Naval Forces Korea confirmed there would be U.S. participation in the event, but declined to comment on whether the George Washington would be on hand.

"As a matter of long standing policy, the U.S. Navy does not discuss current or future operations," CNFK spokeswoman Navy Lt. Pam Bou wrote in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.

"Unit tasking can change based on operational commitments and unforeseen circumstances."

The South Korean navy spokesman said the George Washington will be one of six U.S. ships in the review, giving the United States the second largest presence of the 14 participating nations.

South Korea will have about 30 vessels at the event, which will feature static displays, seminars and parades. The actual review, in which ships will line up for inspection, is slated for Oct. 7.

Officials expect more than 50 vessels to participate in the event.

The George Washington’s commander and executive officer were both relieved of duty in late September in the aftermath of a May 22 fire aboard the carrier that caused about $70 million in damage and injured dozens of sailors.

The fire, which the Navy says appears to have been started by unauthorized cigarette smoking near improperly stored oil containers, delayed the carrier’s move to Japan.

Officials announced that the carrier is to set sail for Yokosuka on Aug. 21 and arrive in late September.

The George Washington has stirred controversy in Japan, with activists protesting the presence of a nuclear-powered vessel. Protests heightened after the fire.


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