U.S. warships are moving toward the Korean Peninsula in a "prudent" move aimed at clamping down on North Korea's provocations, which reached new heights last week with a missile test.
The rerouting order comes just days after President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike on Syria, which North Korea viewed as an act of “intolerable aggression,” despite the fact that the country has conducted several missile tests over the last two years, according to Sky News. The U.S. commander in chief also met with Chinese president Xi Jinping last week and North Korea was said to be at the top of the agenda.
“North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior,” Lt. General H. R. McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend, adding that the move is "prudent." “This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime. 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.”
The ship movements are also meant to send a signal ahead of anticipated Korean Peninsula action coming up this weekend: Saturday marks the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea founder Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the country’s current leader, Kim Jong-un, according to The New York Times.
“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,” U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Commander Dave Benham said, according to Sky News.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Xi told Trump during their meetings last week at Mar-a-Lago that he, too, believes the North Korea nuclear threats have reached a “very serious stage," the Times reported.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week" Sunday, Tillerson also addressed the missile strikes on Syria.
“The message that any nation can take is if you violate international norms, if you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point, a response is likely to be undertaken,” he said.
“In terms of North Korea, we have been very clear that our objective is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. We have no objective to change the regime in North Korea; that is not our objective,” he added.
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