US diverts Navy strike force to Korean waters in response to rogue nation’s nuclear threat
Sunday - 09/04/2017 01:18
THE Pentagon says a Navy carrier strike group is moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests and continued pursuit of a nuclear program have raised tensions in the region, where US Navy ships are a common presence and serve in part as a show of force.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump and South Korea’s leader, Acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone. The White House said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.
The US Pacific Command directed the carrier group to sail north to the western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, according to a Navy news release. The carrier group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with support from several missile destroyers and missile cruisers.
Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since January 5, the strike group has participated in numerous exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives, and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea.
REMOVING AL-ASSAD A TOP US PRIORITY
Meantime, the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a priority for Donald Trump, says the US Ambassador to the UN.
Nikki Haley said the removal of al-Assad, removing Iranian influence in Syria and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group are the priorities for the US President.
“We don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there,” Haley told CNN.
The comments represented a departure from what Haley said before the US hit a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles on Thursday in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by al-Assad’s forces on Syrian civilians.
Australia’s Prime Minsiter Malcolm Turnbull today also doubted if al-Assad can play any part of a peaceful solution to the six-year civil war.
“I have grave doubts as to whether he can have any continuing role in the settlement. The crimes he has committed against his own people are so enormous,” Mr Turnbull said from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
“His actions, his horrendous, criminal actions, gassing women and children, babies, that surely disqualifies him from a continuing role.”