US Navy sends warships toward Korean peninsula

A F  A-18E Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

A F A-18E Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since January 5, the strike group conducted bilateral maneuvers with the South Korean navy in March. Announcing carrier movements in advance is rare, and generally done to send a clear message.

Now, in the latest sign that tensions are increasing, the United States has deployed a Navy strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier from Singapore.

The naval strike group, called Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to a USA official.

"Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent USA military attack on Syria is an action of warning us but we are not frightened by it", a North Korean foreign ministry official quoted by the state-run Korean Central News Agency said, according to the AP.

"It's created to send a message to our allies and all the nations in the region", one official said.

On Thursday and Friday, US President Donald Trump hosted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks during which he pressed Pyongyang's key ally to help curb the North's nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea, meanwhile, called the U.S. missile strike on Syria on Thursday night "an intolerable act of aggression".

North Korea has already conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches and is believed to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the U.S.

The US is vowing to keep up the pressure on Syria after the intense night-time wave of missile strikes from US ships, despite the prospect of escalating Russian ill will that could further inflame one of the world's most vexing conflicts.

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The Vinson Carrier is considered the first major United States military presence in the region under the administration of President Donald Trump.

The carrier group has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles while having massive striking power.

The missile strike was one of several options considered by Mr Trump and his senior security advisers, who also canvassed targeting the palace of dictator Bashar al-Assad, according to Reuters.

The US Navy's Carl Vinson Strike Group is set to be deployed to the Korean Peninsula amid growing fears related to Pyongyang's missile program, according to media reports.

The risks of such a strike, however, are enormous.

North Korea has been seeking to craft an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States.

"We feel the increased presence is necessary", the official said, citing North Korea's recent behavior. The crisis was nearly certainly discussed over the weekend when Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Trump at his Florida retreat at Mar-a-Lago. Killing North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, was also presented as an option, NBC reported.

Asked if Friday's strikes against Syria were a message to North Korea, Tillerson told ABC's This Week: "The message that any nation can take is, 'If you violate worldwide norms, if you violate global agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken'".

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