North Korea says it’s ready to sink a US aircraft carrier to show its military might, in the latest sign of rising tensions as US President Donald Trump prepared to call the leaders of China and Japan, Reuters reports.
The United States 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 United States and its Asian allies.
The US government has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area. US 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 was 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 U.S. senators for a top-level briefing on North Korea on Wednesday, a White House official said.
Adding to the tensions, North Korea detained a Korean-American man in his 50s, bringing the total number of U.S. citizens held by Pyongyang to three.
The man, Tony Kim, had been in North Korea for a month teaching accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), the institution’s chancellor, Chan-Mo Park, told Reuters. He was arrested at Pyongyang International Airport on his way out of the country.
The arrest took place on Saturday morning local time, the university said in a statement, and was “related to an investigation into matters that are not connected in any way to PUST”.
North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday.
It has in the past marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.
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