China says President Xi has stressed the need for an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program in a phone discussion with Trump that followed tweets from the USA president urging China to play a more active role.
President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, described the decision to send the carrier group as "prudent". "So the president has asked us to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people and our allies and partners in that region".
With some observers now talking about the possibility of US military action against North Korea, a lawmaker from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sunday said such a scenario was unlikely as a military strike against the North could precipitate a nuclear attack on the South or Japan. A US national security review of options on North Korea include economic and military measures.
The pair today ended two days discussions at the Trump southern White House of Mar-a-Lago, to the backdrop of increased military tension in Syria.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile said that "terrorists" were applauding Trump for launching a missile strike on an airbase of his Syrian government ally. Then he surprised his guest with news that he had just ordered a cruise missile strike on Syria.
This satellite image released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows a damage assessment image of Shayrat air base in Syria, following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes on Friday, April 7, 2017 from the USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Porter (DDG 78), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.
He said, "The message that any nation can take is: if you violate worldwide norms, if you violate global 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 Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping had agreed that North Korea's pattern of "provocative behavior" was unacceptable and the USA was acting accordingly.
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"President Xi clearly understands", Tillerson clarified, "and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken", according to The Guardian.
McMaster described the USA decision to send the Carl Vinson Strike Group to safeguard US interests in the Western Pacific as "prudent".
It was already deployed to the peninsula a month ago to participate in the annual military exercises with South Korea.
He said a United States declaration of Chinese manipulation could jeopardize talks on North Korea.
On Sunday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted on state-run media as vowing to step up the country's defenses to protect itself from airstrikes like the USA carried out against Syria last week.
Speculation of an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday - sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.
South Korea's Minister of Unification Hong Yong-pyo warned reporters in Seoul Monday that the United States "has to take into consideration the many other problems that a pre-emptive strike may bring about".