Tensions With North Korea Rise as Volleyball Game Ends

NY [U.S.], April 24 (ANI): In a development bound to further rock the already dilapidating ties between the two nations, North Korea on Sunday threatened to sink an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific Ocean.

Japan said on Sunday it had sent two Japanese destroyers to join the carrier group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, for drills.

Concern has grown that the unpredictable communist country may press ahead with another nuclear test as early as this week, as it is scheduled to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces on Tuesday.

But instead of a nuclear test or big missile launch, North Korea deployed a large number of long-range artillery units in the region of Wonsan on its east coast for a live-fire drill, South Korea's military said.

Two Japanese destroyers joined the USA strike force in the western Pacific Ocean on Sunday, according to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.

Washington and its allies fear Pyongyang could be preparing to conduct another nuclear missile test or launch more ballistic missiles.

North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threat is perhaps the most serious security challenge confronting Trump.

A Japanese official said the phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Abe was not prompted by any specific change in the situation. Besides asserting that it will respond in kind to any USA attack on the country, Pyongyang has also claimed it would strike the United States mainland and U.S. carriers and forces in the region, specifically USA bases in Seoul and Tokyo.

South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun gave no details about the South's plan to join the approaching U.S. carrier group for exercises, apart from saying Seoul was holding discussions with the U.S. Navy. The North has also carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

In another sign of the intense focus on Pyongyang in Washington, the White House is expected to host United States senators for a top-level briefing on North Korea on Wednesday, a White House official said.

Japanese media report that exercises are meant to underscore alliance with United States and pressure North Korea Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the USS Carl Vinson, the United States aircraft carrier that is moving toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, would begin joint exercises with the Japan Self-Defense Forces on April 23.

"We agreed to strongly demand that North Korea, which is repeating its provocation, show restraint", Abe later told reporters.

"We do not seek military conflict, nor do we seek to threaten North Korea".

"We've all come to hear their words repeatedly; their word has not proven honest", Mattis told a news conference in Tel Aviv, before the latest threat to the aircraft carrier.

"Seeing the threats we are facing now, it is no surprise that Japan and the USA are conducting joint exercises", Mr Toshimitsu Motegi, a senior Japanese ruling party lawmaker, told Japan's NHK public broadcaster.

From there, it could take three days to reach waters off the Korean peninsula.

  • Leroy Wright