NKorea threat to hit US aircraft carrier
North Korea says it’s ready to sink a US aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, in the latest sign of rising tensions as US President Donald Trump prepares to call the leaders of China and Japan.
The United States has ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to mounting concern over the North’s nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the US and its Asian allies.
The US government has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive “within days,” but gave no other details.
North Korea remained defiant.
“Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary.
The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a “gross animal” and said a strike on it would be “an actual example to show our military’s force”.
The commentary was carried on page three of the newspaper, after a two-page feature about leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a pig farm.
A senior US administration official said Trump is expected to speak later on Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In another sign of the intense focus on Pyongyang in Washington, the White House is expected to host US senators for a top-level briefing on North Korea on Wednesday, a White House official said.
The official said the briefing would be led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
US and South Korean officials have been saying for weeks the North could soon stage another nuclear test, something the United States, China and others have warned against.
South Korea has put its forces on heightened alert.