In show of force, Carl Vinson strike group returns to Korean peninsula

Originally scheduled to make port calls in Australia, the strike group - which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier, the USS Carl Vinson - is now headed from Singapore to the Western Pacific Ocean.

While playing down the option of the American armada launching any pre-emptive attack on North Korean positions, Seoul said the mobilisation is part of an overall strategy to better handle the Pyongyang regime.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday characterized the decision to relocate a US aircraft carrier strike group to the Sea of Japan as "prudent", given North Korea's "pattern of provocative behavior".

If he clinches the presidency in South Korea's national election next month, Moon, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, is expected to pursue a strategy of engagement with Pyongyang.

The communist state has attempted four missile launches this year, including a medium-range missile test on Wednesday, shortly before President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met for a summit.

"This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime", McMaster said.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry official on Sunday called the US action in Syria "absolutely unpardonable as it was an undisguised act of aggression against a sovereign state". He sent 59 Tomahawk missiles to bomb the base, which the US claims was the source of a suspected chemical weapons attack Tuesday that killed more than 80 people.

In a separate statement on ABC, U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson reiterated the objective of a "denuclearized Korean peninsula" and that "regime change" is not the goal of deployment.

A South Korean official in March said the North is likely to conduct "high-intensity strategic provocations such as a nuclear test" or an intercontinental ballistic missile on key dates for the nation.

A clash with North Korea could spark a wider conflict.

"I think there's a shared view and no disagreement as to how risky the situation has become", Tillerson said on CBS' Face the Nation. "You mess up and millions can die on Korean Peninsula".

"The global community will not tolerate a rogue state like North Korea continuing its provocative acts of launching ballistic missiles into the sea of Japan", she told Sky News.

He added that the US and South Korea intend to maintain peace and stability in the region by resolving matters amicably with the North.

"Neither the United States nor North Korea would take the initiative to wage a war, but the risk of conflict is higher as a small miscalculation or accident could bring war to the peninsula", said Mr Zhang Tuosheng, from the China Foundation for worldwide and Strategic Studies.

  • Leroy Wright