US Warships Rerouted Toward Korean Peninsula to 'Maintain Readiness'

The U.S. military is deploying a navy strike group towards the Korean peninsula amid rumors Washington may be considering the reintroduction of tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea or the assassination of Kim Jong Un, it emerged on Sunday.

The strike group includes a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, aircraft, two guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser, the military said.

North Korea has continued work on its nuclear program while advancing its short-, medium- and long-range missile capabilities, Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift told reporters Thursday in Tokyo.

"The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability", Benham said.

Satellite footage has also suggested North Korea may be preparing for a sixth nuclear test, the Washington Post reported.

For his part, US Secretary Rex Tillerson has estimated that Pyongyang should take note of the US attack in Syria.

USS Carl Vinson strike group.

North Korea on Wednesday fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan ahead of a U.S.

North Korea called it an "intolerable act of aggression against a sovereign state", and said the strike showed it was justified in bolstering its own defences.

On Friday, the U.S. carried out a missile strike on the Shayrat airfield near Homs in response to an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province, the blame for which Washington pinned on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In February the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on United States bases in the neighbouring Asian country. The U.S. action was first against Syrian government targets in the United States' 2.5-year campaign against ISIS forces in the civil war-torn country. McMaster said on "Fox News Sunday".

But last week's illegal USA air strike against the Syrian military was held up by North Korea as proof it needs nuclear weapons to deter a similar attack.

Analysts have said the Syria strike contained a clear message for Pyongyang that the U.S. was not afraid to exercise the military option, and there had been speculation as to how the North would respond.

The failed policies of past presidents were unable to curb the reclusive regime's nuclear ambitions, and now the threat is becoming more serious as the ranges of North Korea's ballistic missiles grow and the explosive yields of its nuclear weapons rise. By green-lighting air strikes in Syria, President Trump proved that he isn't going to be shy about using force when he deems it warranted. China has always been North Korea's primary ally, supporting the hermit state with food, energy and most of its economic trade.

Within hours of the US announcement, North Korea vowed to boost its defenses.

The strike group's change of route comes just after US President Donald Trump met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Florida to discuss the need to stop the military advancements of Pyongyang.

  • Leroy Wright