Hawaii threatened by North Korea now, U.S. commander tells Congress

Its deployment is not part of the Vinson strike group, but its presence in the area is meant to send a message to North Korea, a U.S. Defense Department official told ABC News. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to Trump on Monday, is urging restraint from both Pyongyang and Washington.

Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group for exercises off the Korean peninsula as a warning to Pyongyang, but US officials say sanctions, not military strikes, are the preferred option.

The World Council of Churches had on April 14 joined the National Council of Churches in [South] Korea in expressing grave concern at the re-deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to the seas surrounding the Korean peninsula.

Abe described his conversation with Trump as a “thorough exchange of views”.

“We agreed that we will strongly warn that North Korea should stop further strategic provocations”, said Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea’s representative.

Pressure from China and the United States could be a factor, though experts caution it’s hard to tell, as North Korea often reacts to global pressure and punitive measures with defiance.

President Donald Trump’s approach “aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners”, Tillerson, Mattis and Coats said.

South Korea said in a statement Wednesday that unspecified parts of THAAD were deployed. North Korea is not a Syria.

“The recent rise in conflict rhetoric is worsening already critical human rights challenges in North Korea”, said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Tomás Ojea Quintana.

The unfolding tensions have been fuelled by the possibility that Pyongyang may carry out its sixth nuclear test, as indicated by latest satellite photos of its nuclear test centre.

America’s Pacific forces commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., told Congress on Wednesday the system would be operational within days.

The joint drill involved artillery firing as well as torpedo attacks by submarines, state-run KCNA said, and demonstrated the country’s determination to a “pour merciless rain of fire on the reckless imperialist USA and its dirty followers”, it said.

US officials said Wednesday’s briefings will center on three key issues: intelligence about the North’s capabilities; USA response options, including military ones; and how to get China and other countries to enforce existing economic sanctions on Pyongyang, along with ideas for new penalties.

A young girl watches as North Korean men and women take part in a mass dance on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

South Korean and USA officials have feared for some time that a sixth North Korean nuclear test or the latest in a string of missile launches could be imminent.

He dismissed North Korea’s threats to sink the aircraft carrier and its strike group, saying “if it flies, it will die”.

While the U.S. military described the submarine’s visit as part of routine patrols in the Asia-Pacific region, it also has an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang insists it needs a powerful arsenal – including atomic weapons – to protect itself from what it says is the ever-present threat of invasion by hostile U.S. forces.

They will take place in the Sea of Japan – also known as the East Sea – it said. US forces are also conducting exercises in the region with the Japanese and South Korean militaries.

The “status quo” on North Korea is “unacceptable”, Mr. Trump told members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday at the White House. Left unsaid by Graham was that a war today could be disastrous for US allies Japan and South Korea.

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