US Warships in Korean Peninsula Meant to Send a Message

"In terms of North Korea, we have been very clear that our objective is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula".

During a 20-minute phone call Saturday, Trump told South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-Ahn, that he had "in-depth discussions about North Korea's serious nuclear problems and how to respond to them" during his summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, according to the South Korean leader's office.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Herbert McMaster said that US President Donald Trump has ordered preparation of all possible options in order to protect the United States and its partners from North Korean threat.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Command announced on Sunday (9 April) that the Carl Vinson Strike Group - comprising the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser - was sent to waters near the Korean peninsula.

Calling the Tomahawk strikes on the Shayrat air base "absolutely unpardonable", the country's Foreign Ministry stated that the North would now "bolster our capability for self-defense in every way to cope with the U.S.'s ever-more reckless moves to war".

US warships are moving toward the Korean Peninsula in a "prudent" move aimed at clamping down on North Korea's provocations, which reached new heights last week with a missile test.

The Pentagon says a Navy carrier strike group is moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula.

The strike group will remain under the operational control of US 3rd Fleet as part of the 3rd Fleet Forward initiative.

Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile, which only traveled a fraction of its range. This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime.

Lieu tweeted on Sunday, "Unlike Syria, N. Korea has nukes & can rain down artillery on S. Korea". The report did not name the official, which is common in KCNA reports.

On Wednesday, North Korea reportedly launched a ballistic missile from Sinpho, South Hamgyong province, in the direction of the Sea of Japan. Pyongyang claims it is pursuing nuclear weapons to defend itself from what it calls U.S. aggression.

Tensions remain high on the Korean peninsula as North Korea has conducted four missile launches this year.

"President Xi clearly understands, and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken", Tillerson told "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson. "And I think even China is beginning to recognize that this presents a threat ... to China's interests as well".

Trump has said China, with its ties to North Korea, should deal with its neighbor, but that the US was prepared to act on its own if necessary.

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - China and South Korea agreed on Monday to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said.

  • Carolyn Briggs