Navy Strike Group Heads for Korea
The U.S. Navy Carl Vinson strike group will be sailing from Singapore towards the Korean peninsula, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed on Sunday.
The move comes as concern grows about North Korea's weapons testing program. Kim Jong Un has indicated that an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar might be coming, possibly as soon as April 15, the 105th birthday of North Korea's founding president, reports Reuters.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea last Wednesday. The missile was launched from Sinpo, a port city on the North's east coast, and it flew about 60 kilometers (40 miles).
North Korea also conducted a test of a newly developed high-thrust engine this year. The engine is believed to be able to help the country achieve world-class satellite launch capability, indicating the test was likely of a new type of rocket engine for long-range missiles.
North Korea has already conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches and is believed to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the U.S.
The launches are in contravention of U.N. resolutions and have prompted the U.S. and South Korea to agree to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery in South Korea later this year.
Additionally, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Defense successfully tested the first intercept of a ballistic missile using Raytheon’s latest technology, the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA on February 3.
The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
China has called on the U.S. and Japan to show great care, as the technology has some experts saying that it will break the global strategic balance and trigger an arms race.