United States carrier group reverses course, heads for Korean peninsula

Apr 11, 2017, 00:23
United States carrier group reverses course, heads for Korean peninsula

"If North Korea were to test some number of ballistic missiles by firing them into the East Sea/Sea of Japan, these warships would have the potential of intercepting the North Korean test missile", Bennett said. Previously, it was engaged in patrols of the South China Sea and joint military exercises with both Japan and South Korea.

The announcement comes amid North Korea's insistent testing of a ballistic missile program, which is banned under global rules.

"The president has asked them to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat", he added, apparently referring to Trump's advisers.

"In terms of North Korea, we have been very clear that our objective is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula".

In a terse written statement following the latest test, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the United States "has spoken enough about North Korea".

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, embarked Carrier Air Wing 2, missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain.

The review de-emphasizes direct military action, but a pre-emptive strike on the North is not off the table.

Earlier this year, Tillerson stated that "all of the options are on the table" during his first Asia visit as top US diplomat.

As a result, the UN Security Council tightened the sanctions regime for North Korea in an attempt to force Pyongyang to stop ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, including imposing a measure meant to affect the country's trade, export of natural resources, arms trade and the banking sector.

"We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the USA evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force", the report continued. "It could go even higher if [US President] Donald Trump or [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un takes a stronger stand against the other".

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Tillerson also addressed the missile strikes on Syria.

"President Xi clearly understands, and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken", Tillerson told "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson.

"You mess up and millions can die on Korean Peninsula".

Tillerson told CBS's Face the Nation, in an interview broadcast on Sunday, that when Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping met at the Mar-a-Lago resort this week, they "had extensive discussions around the risky situation in North Korea".

In response to the attack made on Syria, North Korea said the attack was an "intolerable act of aggression against a sovereign state", and made it justified in "bolstering its own defenses".

Trump's national security aides have completed a review of U.S. options to try to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Information for this article was contributed by Anna Fifield of The Washington Post; by Heesu Lee and David Tweed of Bloomberg News; and by staff writers with The Associated Press.

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