Published: Fri, May 05, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

US Admiral Says N. Korea Crisis Is At Worst Point He's Seen


The head of U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is now in "striking range" of North Korea if called upon, adding that he was responsible for recent confusion over when and how quickly the group would reach the Korean peninsula.

The US supercarrier Carl Vinson will arrive in waters off the Korean peninsula "in a matter of days", Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday, amid reports the North could be preparing a sixth nuclear test. "I made the decision to pull the Carl Vinson out of Singapore, truncate the exercise that it was going to do south of Singapore, cancel its port visit to Australia and then proceed north".

The port call by the USS Michigan came as a US aircraft carrier strike group steamed toward Korean waters and as the top envoys for North Korea policy from South Korea, Japan, and the United States met in Tokyo.

China warns the USA and Japan to practice restraint as Japan conducted exercises with a US aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun gave no details about the South's plan to join the approaching U.S. carrier group for exercises, apart from saying Seoul was holding discussions with the U.S. Navy.

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The ruling party's newspaper says the country's forces are ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier with a single strike.

Separately, envoys from South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have been meeting in Tokyo to discuss North Korea's refusal to abandon its nuclear program.

"The two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, and committed to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", it said.

The Trump administration has warned that "all options are on the table", including a military strike.

Participating in these exercises, the ships have confirmed their response readiness against any ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang, also rehearsed a data exchange on missile interception and other matters.

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"I believe that's a significant lever China could employ against North Korea", he said.

The editorial said it was a "big miscalculation" for Washington to compare North Korea to the situation of Syria.

The two governments "did not conduct (such joint drills) out of consideration for opposition from neighboring nations", said a senior Defense Ministry official. The Michigan is one of the U.S. Navy's largest submarines.

Additionally, a USA nuclear submarine has also arrived to the Korean peninsula.

Harris recommended placing ballistic missile interceptors and a new radar system in Hawaii to protect against North Korea's ongoing advancements toward an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea conducted large-scale, live-fire drills Tuesday near an eastern coastal town to mark its military's founding anniversary and state media reported that Kim personally observed the exercises.

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"In confronting the North Korean threat, it is critical that the United States be guided by a strong sense of resolve both publicly and privately in order to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not his knees", Harris said. A USA pre-emptive attack isn't likely, American officials have said, and the Trump White House has settled on a strategy of increasing pressure on North Korea with the help of China.

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