US Navy strike group heads toward Korean peninsula

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

In response to the North Korean threat, the Vinson carrier will now cross into the Western Pacific rather than make port visits previously planned in Australia, said the PACOM command.

The strike group comprises the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.

He added the move is aimed at beefing up the defense posture against North Korea's strategic provocations, such as a nuclear test and missile launches. There were conflicting accounts about how far it flew. The regime has also conducted several missile engine tests as it works to improve its ballistic missile technology.

In a bustling week at the Pentagon and White House, American officials worked up plans to batter the Syrian airfield and prep for the president's meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping that began Thursday at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida.

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security team has completed a review of U.S. options to try to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile programs which include economic and military measures but lean more toward sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to rein in its reclusive neighbor.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

The dynastic regime's nuclear weapons programme is condemned even by its main ally, China, as a destabilising force in the Far East and a provocation which is used in Japan and South Korea to ramp up militarism and justify a significant USA military presence in both countries.

Amid rising tensions with North Korea, a USA aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson was heading toward the Korean peninsula.

The development comes in response to North Korea's "reckless, irresponsible" conduct, a United States navy official said, referring to recent missile tests.

U.S. Navy ships are a common presence in the Korean Peninsula region and serve in part as a show of force.

While some might worry that the strikes will prompt Mr Kim to accelerate his nuclear and missile programmes, Mr Green said North Korea was "already going full tilt anyway".

"Because North Korea places most of its assets underground, it will be hard for the Vinson group to do a lot of damage to North Korea on its own", he said.

Mr Dennis Wilder, a former top Central Intelligence Agency China analyst told the Financial Times that "Xi will now have to take more seriously Trump's threat to go it alone on North Korea".

Another Aegis-equipped US warship drilled with similar vessels from the South Korean and Japanese navies off the Korean Peninsula last month in what the US Navy called "a trilateral missile warning informational link exercise". It is based in San Diego.

  • Leroy Wright