US deploys warships to Korean peninsula over North Korea's missiles tests

Progress made in talks with China, Trump saysReuters

The US has sent an aircraft carrier and other warships to the Korean peninsula due to rising concerns over North Korea's missiles tests. The USS Carl Vinson – a US Navy strike group – is moving towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula, a US official said on Saturday (8 April).

Chief of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, gave directions to the Carl Vinson strike group to move north to the Western Pacific after leaving Singapore on Saturday.

An unidentified US official speaking about North Korea's missiles tests told Reuters, "We feel the increased presence [of the US Navy] is necessary..."

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The US Navy's Third Fleet said in a statement on Saturday that the strike group has been given instructions to sail north, but did not specify an exact destination. The vessels will largely operate in the Western Pacific and will not make previously planned port visits to Australia, the statement said.

North Korea recently tested a Scud missile which according to US officials exploded mid-flight. Pyongyang also carried out multiple missile engine tests as Kim Jong-un's regime is working to improve its ballistic missile technology.

Top Pyongyang officials and Kim himself have indicated that an intercontinental ballistic missile test or a similar test would be conducted on 15 April, which marks the birthday of North Korea's founding president Kim Il-sung, Reuters reported.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping concluded a summit in Florida, where North Korea was top on the agenda.

Trump also recently warned that US would act unilaterally to curb North Korea's nuclear programme if China was hesitant to use its leverage over Pyongyang.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is seen in a file photoREUTERS/U.S. Navy

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