In what appears to be increasing escalation in the Pacific over North Korea’s display of military provocation, Russian and Chinese naval intelligence are probing the maneuvers of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Japanese media reported the U.S. carrier group was being tailed by Russian and Chinese vessels on Sunday. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune:
China and Russia have dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is heading toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, multiple sources of the Japanese government revealed to The Yomiuri Shimbun.
It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea. The Self-Defense Forces are strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.
The USS Carl Vinson is a Nimitz-class carrier routinely equipped with F/A-18 Fighter/Bombers, EA-18G Growler aircraft for Electronic Warfare, and E-2 Hawkeye Aircraft and Ship Detection planes.
The U.S. carrier group was headed to Australia when its orders were changed to head north to to the Korean peninsula. Its orders were to perform a joint military exercise with the Japanese in the South China Sea.
President Donald Trump signaled his determination to build the military and improve readiness:
Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
North Korea recently failed to launch a missile from its submarine base in Sinpo. The missile failed and exploded shortly after lift-off, providing an harsh blow to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Vice President Pence deployed to the Demilitarized Zone near the border of North and South Korea and addressed U.S. troops on Easter Sunday.
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face each and every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Pence said, as reported by the New York Times.
Japan has been on alert ever since North Korea fired four ballistic missiles off the northeastern coast of Japan early in March. On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his growing concerns that North Korea might even possess sarin-tipped warheads.
“There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads,” Abe told a parliamentary session, as Reuters reported.