US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula

Frederick Owens
April 21, 2017

"China expresses serious concern with recent trends about North Korea's nuclear and missile development [.] China is unswerving in its commitment to realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, and continue to solve matters through dialogue and negotiations".

United States Vice-President Mike Pence, warning North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, has promised an "overwhelming and effective" response to any attack on the U.S. or its allies.

Defence expert Tosh Minohara of Kobe University said: "America's sword is still in the scabbard and hasn't been drawn yet".

US Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit the largest mosque in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, on Thursday as a symbolic gesture for the deputy in an administration accused of stoking Islamophobia.

At the inaugural meeting, Aso and Pence established the framework for future talks, which will focus on three areas: trade and investment strategy; cooperation in economic and structural policies; and sectoral cooperation.

"The days of broken promises and the days of running out the clock on agreements with the wider world are over", he said.

While the nuclear test has yet to happen, Pence pushed the theme of tough talk after Sunday's failed missile launch.

"It's clear United States policy to develop the cybercapability to disable enemy ballistic missiles", Greg Austin, a professor at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at the University of New South Wales, told CNN on Tuesday.

"I really can't comment on the electronic and technical capabilities of our military, but we certainly would recognize that that was a failed missile test, it failed nearly immediately", he said.

He again reiterated that with the Trump administration, "the era of strategic patience is over".

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Pence said the USA would work with allies and others in the region to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on the regime in Pyongyang until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

North Korea has accelerated its nuclear and missile tests in recent years, despite worldwide condemnation and United Nations sanctions.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, has sought to use his trip to soften some of the harsher edges of rhetoric about the Muslim world used by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has frequently railed against "radical Islamic terrorism".

Tensions between the two nations have been fraught throughout Trump's presidency of nearly three months.

Trump has brought two ideas to the North Korean stalemate: threaten military force, and leverage the US's trade relationship with China to force its hand against the Kim regime.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula.

South Korean government officials said Pence's statement does not necessarily mean a complete overhaul of the agreement.

But the strike group was actually on its way to participate in military exercises in the Indian Ocean, some 3,500 miles in the opposite direction.

A senior official with the Trump administration said the mistake was due to miscommunication.

"Short of launching a shock and awe campaign which would be overwhelming in its breadth and scale there's not a lot else the United States and its allies can do other than tighten the constrictor grip on the North", said Alex Neill, a senior fellow at the Shangri-La Dialogue. "North Korea would do well not to test his resolve - or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region".

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