North Korea says ready to strike U.S. aircraft carrier

Two Japanese destroyers on Sunday began an exercise with the U.S. Carl Vinson carrier strike group in the Western Pacific as it approaches waters around the Korean peninsula, Japan's navy said.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Australia's prime minister in Sydney on Saturday, Pence said, . with increased pressure on Pyongyang, there's a chance the US and its allies can achieve a historic objective of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

"The (U.S.) president wanted me to be here early in this administration to reaffirm the strong and historic alliance between the United States of America and Australia", Pence told Turnbull.

The Hermit Kingdom's ruling Workers' Party newspaper on Sunday wrote that the country's revolutionary forces are "combat-ready to sink a USA nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike".

The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a "gross animal" and said a strike on it would be "an actual example to show our military's force".

The idea that an aircraft carrier was heading to the Korean Peninsula seemed to underscore Trump's tough talk against North Korea, and fed the media's narrative that Trump was dangerously close to starting a war with North Korea, as it prepared for a possible nuclear weapons test later that week.

The aircraft carrier will arrive "in a matter of days", Pence, who is in Sydney, said, after the location of the naval strike group became contentious.

Japan's military ordered the warships to accompany the Carl Vinson north at least into the East China Sea, a source with knowledge of the plan said.

"If Australia persists in following the US' moves to isolate and stifle North Korea. this will be a suicidal act", a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said after Mr Pence's visit to Australia. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.

On Monday, Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state, said at a briefing that the United States preferred to resolve the issue "through the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", adding that the United States was not after conflicts or "regime change". The distance from the Celebes Sea to the South Korean port of Busan is about 2300 miles.

His comments came a senior North Korean official warned the regime had no intention of scaling down its missile programme, pledging weekly tests and threatening "all-out war" if the United States took any action against it.

Last Thursday, Trump praised Chinese efforts to rein in "the menace of North Korea", after North Korean state media warned the United States of a "super-mighty pre-emptive strike".

  • Leroy Wright