Carrier groups heads to Sea of Japan amid N. Korea tensions
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 16, 2017,
Apr 16, 2017, 0:09
As tension is brewing around the Korean Peninsula, the U.S Military has ordered a Navy strike group to move towards that region, amid growing concerns about North Korea's missile programme.
The strike group has been deployed from San Diego to the Western Pacific since January 5, and has participated in numerous bilateral exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea.
The statement comes just after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said USA missile strikes against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack carry a message for any nation operating outside of worldwide norms. "The deployment of USA strategic assets near the Korean Peninsula is to maintain and bolster our combined defense posture to respond to the North's threats and provocations and happening through the close coordination between Seoul and Washington".
"The No. 1 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".
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.
Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since January 5, the strike group has participated in numerous exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives, and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea.
"The president has asked them to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat", he said on Fox News, apparently referring to Trump's advisers.
USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned that the U.S. military strike on Syria is a message to other nations, as USA war ships headed towards waters near North Korea in a sign of escalating tensions between the two countries.
North Korea denounced Thursday's strike as an act of "intolerable aggression" and one that justified "a million times over" the North's push toward a credible nuclear deterrent.
Pyongyang tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile this month.
Pyongyang has carried out five separate nuclear tests - two of them past year - while satellite imagery appears to suggest that it could be preparing a sixth.
Mr Tillerson said Mr Trump and the Chinese president "had extensive discussions around the risky situation in North Korea".
Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them previous year.
On March 6, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles about 620 miles before falling into the sea, and were likely capable of striking Japan.
The US caught the global community off guard last week by ordering missile strikes on the Shayrat airfield in western Syria as a response to a chemical attack in a town in the Idlib province of the country.
He said the United States expects China, the main ally of North Korea, to do more to rein in the regime in Pyongyang.