U.S. aircraft carrier-led strike group headed toward Korean Peninsula


"President Xi clearly understands, and - and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CBS' "Face the Nation" program on Sunday.

"It's prudent to do it, isn't it?"

The strike group, called Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and was making its way from Singapore toward the Korean Peninsula, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity.

FILE - In this March 15, 2017 file photo, U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson approaches to participate in the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States, at Busan port in Busan, South Korea.

"This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime, and President Xi and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", McMaster said.

"It is important to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by resolving the issues of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles wisely".

"The number one threat in the region continues to the North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability", he said, according to the AFP news agency.

The strike group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the guided missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain. "That is not our objective and so the whole reasons underlying the development of a nuclear program in North Korea are simply not credible", Tillerson told the ABC program This Week.

The move will raise tensions in the region and comes hard on the heels of a U.S. missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as putting Pyongyang on warning over its refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

In response to the attack made on Syria, North Korea said the attack was an "intolerable act of aggression against a sovereign state", and made it justified in "bolstering its own defenses". On Saturday night, the Pentagon said a Navy carrier strike group was moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide more of a physical presence in the region.

Days before the summit, Trump warned that the U.S. was prepared to act unilaterally to stop North Korea's nuclear program from advancing further should China be unwilling to use its leverage over Pyongyang.

In comments to reporters, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the countries had agreed to increase cooperation in pushing North Korea to abandon its weapons programmes, but made it clear that the USA was willing to go it alone in tackling the problem.

In February, the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on USA bases in the neighboring Asian country. The regime also has recently conducted several missile engine tests as it works to improve its ballistic missile technology.

The head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, which provides missile detection for the region, said Thursday she was "extremely confident" of USA capability to intercept a potential intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) bound for America from the North.

North Korea's foreign ministry warned last month that its government is prepared to go to war with the United States, following Tillerson saying that the prepared for military engagement with North Korea if any of our allies are attacked.