In the wake of President Trump’s deadly strike on an airbase in Syria comes the news that a Navy strike group is moving towards North Korea.
The Carl Vinson carrier strike group has received orders to cancel its planned visit to Australia and to move from its current location near Singapore into the Western Pacific.
“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson strike group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” said Commander and PACOM spokesman David Benham.
“Third fleet ships operate forward with a purpose: to safeguard US interests in the Western Pacific. The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”
The new orders come four days after North Korea tested a medium-range ballistic missile. The test failed, but the weapon is estimated to have had an operational range of up to 800 miles.
Two days later, President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss China’s role in policing North Korea.
“China has great influence over North Korea,” said Trump. “And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
Trump has long been critical of Beijing’s inaction regarding North Korea, and hopes to see China act as a sort of mediator in dealings with the peninsula.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who travled to a handful of Asian nations last month in advance of Trump’s meeting with the Chinese President, told Fox News that nuclearization of the peninsula was not off the table. “Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said.
Pyongyang has completed over 20 ballistic missile tests over the past year, and Kim Jong-un has made it no secret that North Korea is working to create a missile capable of reaching the US. The rogue leader is expected to test some sort of missile on April 15th – a day that is celebrated in honor of North Korea’s founding president.
Looks like Kim Jong-un hasn’t been paying attention to the news. As Tillerson mentioned on Sunday, the US strike on Syria shows that we are ready to take action against countries that fail to adhere to international standards.
“If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken,” said Tillerson.