Heightened tensions are undeniable. So is Trump’s rage for warmaking. Whether he’d risk Korean peninsula nuclear war is another matter entirely.
Citing South Korea’s Yonyap New Agency, Zero Hedge said
“the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula…”
On April 8, the USS Carl Vinson strike group left Singapore. It’s currently involved “in scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean,” far from North Korea, according to Defense News.
US Naval officials declined to comment on its movements. They “flatly deny reports that three US carrier strike groups were being directed to mass off the Korean peninsula in a few weeks.”
South Korean media reports about the Ronald Reagan and Nimitz strike groups joining the Vinson are overblown.
The Yokosuka, Japan-based Reagan aircraft carrier in undergoing maintenance there, scheduled for completion in May.
The Bremerton, Washington-based Nimitz carrier strike group is currently off southern California’s coast, completing pre-deployment exercises. It’s scheduled to replace the Vinson strike group in Pacific waters later this spring.
On April 8, US Pacific Command head Admiral Harry Harris ordered the Vinson strike group to Korean peninsula waters.
Defense Secretary Mattis said it
“operates freely up and down the Pacific, and (it’s) just on (its) way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have (it) at this time. There’s not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we’re sending (it) up there.”
According to Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie, the Pentagon’s lack of clarity about deploying the Vinson strike group adds to Korean peninsula tensions.
“Obviously, it’s an intimidat(ing) tactic adopted by the Trump administration to push Kim Jong-un to yield to Washington’s carrier threats,” Li said.
“Such a tactic is very like Trump’s style, but I don’t think it’s a good way to handle the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula because Kim will not compromise with threats.”
“He wants to get some pragmatic promises from the US, China and Russia to secure his regime.”
On Monday, North Korean Deputy UN envoy Kim In Ryong responded to Vice President Pence’s announced end of US “strategic patience” remark at the DMZ on Sunday. along with Washington’s intended naval presence in Korean peninsula waters, saying:
America “created a dangerous situation in which thermonuclear war may break out…pos(ing) a serious threat to world peace and security.”
“The US is disturbing the global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is ‘decisive, and just, and proportionate,’ and contributes to ‘defending’ the international order in its bid to apply it to the Korean Peninsula as well.”
Any conventional or nuclear strike by Washington will be responded to “in kind,” he added.
Conflict on the Korean peninsula isn’t likely imminent. Yet given Trump’s rage for warmaking, anything is possible ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.