A U.S. Navy carrier strike group is moving toward the Korean peninsula, the Pentagon indicated Saturday evening, in what is understood to be a show of force against North Korea. "We feel the increased presence is necessary" given Pyongyang's recent missile test provocation, an unnamed defense official told Reuters.
This move could be timed in advance of April 15, an annual day of celebration marking the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the founding president of the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un, the founder's grandson and the current leader in Pyongyang, has repeatedly hinted a major new weapons test may be conducted on that day.
The strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as well as multiple missile cruisers and destroyers. A statement from the Navy's Third Fleet did not specify the ships' purpose in moving into the western Pacific Ocean; the group was originally destined for Australia.