President Trump Tuesday addressed the growing threat out of North Korea, following recent ballistic missile tests and the fear that Kim Jong Un’s regime could be closer to building a nuclear-tipped missile, capable of reaching the United States.
The president tweeted a warning to North Korea, writing, “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
He could be planning to “solve the problem” with a 97,000 ton, nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class American aircraft carrier the size of more than three football fields, steaming toward North Korea.
That warship, the USS Carl Vinson, is the flagship of the Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 1, and often called “America’s Favorite Aircraft Carrier.” The strike group, established in 2009, includes the ship’s Carrier Air Wing 2, and embarked Destroyer Squadron 1 deployed with Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, as well as Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy and USS Wayne E. Meyer.
The USS Carl Vinson is capable of carrying 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
About 7,500 sailors deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group on January 5, for a regularly scheduled assignment in Singapore. The Navy announced that it “also deployed with the embarked aviation squadrons of CVW-2 which include the ‘Black Knights’ of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 4, the ‘Blue Hawks’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78, the ‘Bounty Hunters’ of Strike Fighter Squadron 2, the ‘Blue Blasters’ of VFA-34, the ‘Kestrels’ of VFA-137, the ‘Golden Dragons’ of VFA-192, the ‘Black Eagles’ of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the ‘Gauntlets’ of Electronic Attack Squadron 136, and the ‘Providers’ of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron 30.”
Last week, the armada was diverted to a new mission.
“U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement on Sunday.
“Third Fleet ships operate forward with a purpose: to safeguard U.S. interests in the Western Pacific,” he said. “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” the spokesman added.
President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said on Fox News Sunday that the ships were being redirected toward the Korean Peninsula as a “prudent” measure, because “North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior.”
China rejects North Korean coal shipments, opts for US supplies instead
North Korea crisis: The view from Seoul
North Korea: Trump’s Tuesday tweet, Kim Jong Un and America’s best options
“This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime,” he said. The president has asked to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people and to our allies and partners in the region.”
Tensions are so high that a top U.S. general in Korea will not return to Washington to testify in a congressional hearing.
“Due to the security situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Col. Robert Manning, U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said in a statement, “General Vincent K. Brooks will not attend the April Armed Service Committee hearings in person.
“All decisions regarding the schedules of USFK leadership are based on our Alliance priority to maintain readiness at all times. This is not unprecedented. Past USFK Commanders have made similar decisions — for example, General James D. Thurman did not attend hearings in 2013 because of his responsibility to maintain readiness on the Korean Peninsula.”
Responding to the U.S. moving the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group to waters off of North Korea, the isolated nation vowed Monday to “hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences.”