USA aircraft carrier heads back to Korean peninsula

A USA official told Reuters that the Navy's Carl Vinson strike group will move from Singapore into the West Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula, a move meant to put pressure on North Korea to curb its recent weapons tests.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping concluded a summit in Florida, where North Korea was top on the agenda.

US officials initially said North Korea's April 4 test was of a Pukguksong-2, or KN-15, medium-range ballistic missile, a solid-fueled ballistic weapon with an estimated operational range of up to 800 miles.

The strike group will head north from Singapore instead of making planned port visits to Australia.

Earlier this year, China called on both North Korea and the United States to tone down tension on the Korean peninsula - North Korea by suspending its nuclear weapons programme and the USA by stopping military exercises with South Korea that inflame Pyongyang.

A US Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula, a US official has told Reuters.

The strike group includes the destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy and the cruiser USS Lake Champlain, along with the carrier and its embarked air wing.

"The US missile attack against Syria is a clear and intolerable act of aggression against a sovereign state and we strongly condemn it", KCNA news agency quoted an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry as saying.

Meanwhile, North Korea has said that a USA missile strike on Syria has proved its stance as right, to strengthen its nuclear programme.

And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly indicated they might soon test an intercontinental ballistic missile or something similar.

The North has carried out five nuclear tests - two a year ago - and expert satellite imagery analysis suggests it could well be preparing for a sixth. Trump has also called on China, one of the few nations with strong ties to Pyongyang, to take stronger action to curb those nuclear ambitions.

Last month, Trump accused North Korea of "behaving very badly" and "playing" the United States for years. These include economic and military measures but lean more toward sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing.

  • Leroy Wright