U.S. Has Rerouted Warships Toward Korean Peninsula
WASHINGTON — The commander of American forces in the Pacific has ordered an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force by the Trump administration just days after North Korea tested another intermediate-range missile.
The officer, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the military’s Pacific Command, diverted the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its wing of fighter jets from a planned series of exercises and port calls in Australia, the command said in a statement. The Vinson and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers steamed out of Singapore on Saturday for their new mission in the Western Pacific.
Rerouting the naval armada is President Trump’s latest escalation in force against a potential adversary. Mr. Trump ordered a cruise missile strike last week against a Syrian military air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government that killed scores of civilians.
At a meeting last week at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, he joined with President Xi Jinping of China in warning of the increasing menace posed by North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons program. Asked on Sunday why the Navy ships were being redirected toward the Korean Peninsula, the president’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, said it was a “prudent” step to take.
“North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior,” General McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime. The president has asked to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people and to our allies and partners in the region.”
The White House said in a statement on Sunday that Mr. Trump had spoken to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan the day before on many issues, including the North Korean nuclear threat.
Military and intelligence officials said the timing of the ship movements was also intended to anticipate a milestone event coming up on the Korean Peninsula: the anniversary on Saturday of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder and the grandfather of the country’s current leader, Kim Jong-un. North Korea has a history of testing missiles and generally taking provocative actions during such events.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/09/world/asia/korean-peninsula-us-aircraft-carrier-north-korea.html