Last week the United States Navy sent a strike group to the western Pacific Ocean after another North Korean missile test occurred last week. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser HR McMaster and President Donald Trump had both recently escalated their rhetoric on dealing with North Korea’s nuclear ambition, talk that has now been backed up with the deployment of the group that includes the 97,000 ton USS Carl Vinson, two guided missile destroyers, and a guided missile cruiser, per CNN.
The crew for the strike group totals 5,000 to go with 60 aircraft, the ability to launch 300 missiles, and an anti-missile defense system that could shoot down a missile test by North Korea, The action was one of multiple presented according to NBC – other options included arming South Korea with nuclear capabilities and an attempt at assassinating North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un.
The action taken by the Trump administration is not the first time a group has been sent to the area, however with rising tensions after a chemical weapons attack by Syria and subsequent action by the United States that saw an air base destroyed, tensions are high. Japan and South Korea expressed public support for the move, while China has stated they prefer “direct diplomatic negotiations” with North Korea, per CNN.
North Korea responded in strong terms, telling CNN that the recent military maneuvering shows the need for North Korea to have “self defensive” and pre-emptive strike capabilities with the nuclear force at the core.”
The situation is as complicated as any President Trump has faced thus far, as he has a variety of options, including the possibility of a pre-emptive strike, which he has entertained. All carry potential risks, and with the new administration attempting to take a hard line on trade with China, the margin for error is thin. President Trump tweeted last week that the United states would “solve the problem without them” in regard to North Korea. President Trump and other administration officials have also stated that China agrees with them that action must be taken on North Korea, however official word from China confirming those conversations has not yet come.
In a recent Fox News Business interview, President Trump said that the United States is “sending an armada. Very Powerful, we have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.” Although additional movement has not been confirmed, the interview is a sign that action may be on the way.