Carl Vinson Strike Group Ordered to Korea Amid Rising Tensions

Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since January 5, the Carl Vinson strike group has participated in numerous exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives, and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea.

After a meeting with USA officials and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Tillerson indicated that the Chinese president had agreed to cooperate with the challenging North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

"China has a great influence over North Korea", Trump said.

North Korea reacted strongly to the United States attack on Syria, saying the strike was "an unforgivable act of an aggression" that vindicated the communist country's decision to develop its own nuclear weapons program.

Command spokesman Dave Benham called diverting the supercarrier and its guided-missile escorts north a "prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence" in the volatile Western Pacific.

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". We have no objective to change the regime in North Korea, that is not our objective.

"I think there's a shared view and no disagreement as to how risky the situation has become", Tillerson continued on Face the Nation. "Washington is facing huge pressure to strike Pyongyang before it can [develop the capacity] to launch missiles at the U.S.".

Trump views North Korea as the biggest threat to peace in the world, and several officials who have spoken to Navy Times in recent weeks said the Pentagon and U.S. Pacific Command has been sharpening plans for military strikes on the North as an option should the administration want to pursue that action. Pyongyang's response on Saturday suggested the reclusive state was determined to continue with its nuclear weapons programme.

Trump has threatened unilateral action against the reclusive communist state, a threat that appeared more palpable after Thursday's strike on a Syrian airfield following an apparent chemical attack.

"This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime", he said, adding that US President Donald Trump has asked to be given a full range of options to remove the threat.

On March 6, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles about 620 miles before falling into the sea, and were likely capable of striking Japan.

North Korea responded by warning that it will retaliate if the global community steps up sanctions, saying the U.S. was forcing the situation "to the brink of war".

Mr Trump said in a brief appearance before reporters that he and Mr Xi made "tremendous progress" in their first face-to-face talks and that he believe "lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away".

The Navy said the strike group "will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia".

The strike group includes a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, aircraft, two guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser, the military said.



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