China / World

US strike group deployed to the Korean Peninsula

By Xinhua (China Daily) Updated: 2017-04-10 07:10

LOS ANGELES - The US Navy said on Saturday it had sent the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group to the Korean Peninsula.

The deployment came amid rising tensions in the region as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea test-fired another ballistic missile last week and was viewed as a further strengthening of the United States presence, according to local media reports citing US military officials.

The strike group, which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier USS Carl Vinson as well as several other missile destroyers and missile cruisers, canceled a previously planned visit to Australia and diverted to the Western Pacific.

The strike group, which was deployed from San Diego, California, to the Western Pacific on Jan 5, has participated in numerous bilateral exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korean Navy in the past three months.

US strike group deployed to the Korean Peninsula

The move threatens to raise tensions in the region and will do little to ease the concerns of the DPRK, who late on Saturday accused US President Donald Trump of aggression against Syria after he ordered missile attacks on a military airfield in Homs on Friday.

It is the first time the DPRK has named Trump directly in its frequent condemnation of the US.

"The Trump administration on April 7 mounted a massive missile attack on an air force base of the Syrian government army under the pretext that it killed civilians by using chemical weapons," said the DPRK Foreign Ministry in a statement.

A spokesman called the US attack "absolutely unpardonable" and "an undisguised act of aggression against a sovereign state".

"The world clearly witnessed through the recent US military attack on Syria who is disturbing peace," the spokesman said.

"Successive US administrations have perpetrated strikes at those countries which do not have nukes only, styling themselves a superpower and the same is true of the Trump administration."

The DPRK also criticized the ROK for seeking closer military alliance with the US, which it said would escalate confrontation between the two sides.

ROK acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn recently called on the US to strengthen its alliance with Seoul, while calling the DPRK's efforts to develop nuclear arms and missiles "provocation" and "threat," according to media reports.

However, the official daily of the ruling Korean Workers' Party, Rodong Sinmum, called the ROK-US alliance "just a war alliance to carry out the US policy for isolating and stifling the DPRK and realize its foreign strategy of aggression".

Meanwhile, a Russian official expressed worries on Sunday that the deployment of the strike group may push the DPRK to respond hastily.

If Pyongyang sees the deployment as a threat to its security, it may rush into actions in response, said Victor Ozerov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security, according to a RIA Novosti report.

Ozerov said it is even possible that the US could launch sudden strikes against the DPRK just as it did to Syria.

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