The war of words is continuing to heat up as naval forces are steaming towards the Sea of Japan and the Korean coast.

The North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister, Han Song-Ryol, warned the US today that the North would continue to test ballistic missiles “on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis” and he further threatened that Pyongyang would lash-out with a “nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method” should the US initiate military action. In response, US Vice President, Mike Pence, on a visit to South Korea, cautioned Pyongyang against testing President Trump’s “resolve,” and he declared again an end to “strategic patience” with the Kim Jong-un regime. While US Defense Secretary, James Mattis, said, "The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile" and he revealed that the failed launch was not an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile as reported by several media outlets.

The US has the sent Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group steaming towards the Korean Peninsula including; the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, as well as, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy, USS Wayne E. Meyer, and a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN). The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group is expected to be joined by the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz and elements of the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz Strike Groups. As of June 2015, the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group included three Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and seven Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. USS Nimitz Strike Group includes two Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Each Carrier Strike Group will likely come with an additional Los Angeles-class SSNs. The three carrier strike groups come with almost 300 combat aircraft and the ability to carry and launch Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles. The USS Carl Vinson’s Strike Group escorts come with 300 launch tubes alone. Additionally, the US currently has three fighter squadrons based in South Korea and elements of an army division. There is a US Marine division based in Japan and five fighter squadrons. North Korea for its part, has ballistic missile systems, an estimated 30 atomic bomb-type weapons, large holdings of chemical weapons, and a million-man conscript army supported by largely obsolete, air and naval forces. The International Institute of Strategic Studies based in London.

In other developments, today, it was reported that the US military is considering shooting down North Korean ballistic missiles in the event Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test. Additionally, the USS Carl Vinson strike group is now being shadowed by a Russian and Chinese attack submarine on what is believed to be an intelligence gathering exercise. Interestingly, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, like some modern day ‘Tigger’ seems to be trying to insert itself into the Korean crisis by increasing his military activity level in the Pacific. Last night, two Russian cruise missile-carrying Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flew within 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska in the Air Defense Identification Zone of the United States. This follows the last week’s deployment of three Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers near the east coast of Japan and the flight of a IL-20 Russian spy-plane down along Japan’s west coast, while US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was in Moscow. Tillerson remarked at that time, while sitting with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that US-Russian relations were at a “low point.” As well, last week, Russian Pacific fleet warships the guided-missile cruiser Varyag and the tanker Pechenga paid a timely port visit to Busan, South Korea.

On a final note, it has been reported that the debate about China’s relationship with North Korea is growing within the Chinese elites, after China’s top Korean War historian, Shen Zhihua, recently stated in public that, “Judging by the current situation, North Korea is China’s latent enemy and South Korea could be China’s friend. We must see clearly that China and North Korea are no longer brothers in arms, and in the short term there’s no possibility of an improvement in Chinese-North Korean relations.”

#UnitedStates #NorthKorea #SouthKorea #JamesMattis #KimJongun #Trump

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