North Korea says it has the military power to sink an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that is approaching waters off the Korean Peninsula in “one strike.”
The US has deployed a strike group, including the large USS Carl Vinson carrier, to the Korean Peninsula in what is intended to be a show of force amid North Korea’s advancing missile and military nuclear programs.
The US carrier will reach the peninsula by the end of April, according to US defense officials.
Pyongyang, considering the deployment an act of provocation, said on Sunday that it was ready to show its own military might by sinking the “nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike.”
“Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” read an editorial on North Korea’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Sunday.
The article said Pyongyang had weaponry that “can reach continental US and Asia Pacific region.”
Two Japanese destroyers joined the US strike force in the western Pacific Ocean on Sunday, according to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.
South Korea also said on Monday that it was in talks with Washington to hold joint drills with the US strike group. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun, however, gave no further details about the discussions with the US Navy.
Earlier, controversy erupted over the location of the strike group. While White House officials, including US President Donald Trump, kept suggesting that the strike force was headed for the Korean Peninsula, it emerged that the flotilla was in fact heading in the opposite direction at the time. It was only after news broke of its actual location that the strike force was ordered to head toward the Koreas.
Meanwhile, Trump spoke on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday to discuss North Korea.
Abe told reporters on Monday that he and Trump had agreed to keep close contact on North Korea. He appreciated Trump’s stance of keeping “all options on the table” regarding Pyongyang.
The Trump administration has several times warned that all options, including a military strike, were being considered to halt Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear activities.
The Chinese president, however, told his American counterpart during a separate telephone call that all sides had to exercise restraint.
Xi Jinping also said China opposed any move that ran counter to the United Nations Security Council resolutions already in place against North Korea.
During recent weeks, tensions between North Korea and the US have significantly increased, raising fears of a potential military confrontation between the two sides.
Washington opposes Pyongyang’s missile and military nuclear programs, which North Korea says act as deterrence against a potential invasion by its adversaries.