US Navy Strike Group to Move Toward Korean Peninsula

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un ==Kyodo

Rising tensions between North Korea, South Korea and the U.S. and the North's nuclear ambitions were chief among subjects discussed by Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida this week.

"It's prudent to do it, isn't it?"

The strike group, called Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity.

"This goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase", said a spokesman for the North's foreign ministry according to state-run KCNA news agency, in Pyongyang's first comment since the deployment. He answered ominously: "If we judge that they have perfected that type of delivery system, then that becomes a very serious stage of their further development". Beyond this, the regime has also conducted missile engine tests in an effort to improve its ballistic missile technology.

Previously, it was engaged in patrols of the South China Sea and joint military exercises with both Japan and South Korea.

"North Korea launched yet another intermediate-range ballistic missile", he said in the statement.

"China has great influence over North Korea", Trump said in the published interview.

The US naval deployment showed North Korea had been right to develop nuclear weapons capability for use in self defence or in a pre-emptive strike, the statement added.

Early on Friday, the U.S. military launched air strikes against the Syrian government, in retaliation for a reported chemical attack.

US National Security Adviser HR McMaster on Sunday criticised North Korea as a rogue nation engaged in provocative behaviour and said denuclearisation of the peninsula "must happen".

"North Korea did not sign the convention on chemical weapons prohibition". There were conflicting accounts about how far it flew.

Standing firm, the Trump administration has signalled new sanctions would soon follow the missile attack, and the Pentagon was even probing whether Russian Federation itself was involved in the chemical weapons assault that compelled President Trump to action.

Mr Trump's show of strength came during one of the most important meetings of his young presidency, as he hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife at the Florida golf resort dubbed the "winter White House".

The US annual defence budget of $581 billion dwarfs China, which spends $155 billion, Russian Federation on $45 billion and North Korea on $7.5 billion.

In advance of summit with Xi, Trump warned that the USA would act alone if the Chinese didn't exert pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear threats.

United States officials said at least 20 jets were destroyed, as well as infrastructure.

A second option reportedly under consideration is the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other top military officials in a decapitation strike aimed at disrupting the country's command-and-control structure. The fleet had been heading to Australia to undertake military exercises.

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