As the US Navy’s Carrier Strike Group One makes its rounds through the Korean Peninsula with the Nimitz class Carl Vinson aircraft carrier flanked by two destroyers and a guided missile cruiser, the Vinson will practice helicopter landings with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force.
The Vinson can hoist as many as 90 fixed wing aircraft and choppers, Fox News notes.
Many consider Carrier Strike Group One’s activities in the Korean Peninsula a show of force to let Pyongyang know what it would be facing should it conduct some sort of ballistic missile or nuclear launch – an event widely anticipated as North Korea approaches a few key anniversaries this month.
“Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,” an official told Reuters. The Japanese MSDF could conduct helicopter and communication drills with the US Navy’s first carrier strike group, the source added.
US President Donald Trump expressed hope after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping that Beijing could help "solve the North Korea problem" during a news conference on Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Specifically, he cited Beijing’s decision to cease imports of coal from North Korea as a sign of Beijing’s support for international efforts to reign in the rogue nuclear state.
What’s more, Beijing-sponsored news outlet the Global Times ran an op-ed on April 12 indicating "If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to see the UNSC adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before."
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson battled to overcome differences with his Russian opposite number Wednesday, but they remained split over an alleged chemical attack in Syria after talks in Moscow.
“Despite the quantity of existing problems… there are considerable prospects for joint work,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference after talks with Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Russia is open to this, open to dialogue with the US in all different areas, not only to dialogue but to joint action aimed at results in the areas where this corresponds to the interests of both countries.”
Tillerson, who met with Putin earlier Wednesday, deplored the “low level of trust” between the countries, whose relations have dropped to a post-Cold War low over Ukraine and Syria.
Despite initial hopes in Moscow of better ties with the US under President Donald Trump, the two powers have descended into a furious war of words over the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and the retaliatory US strike against the forces Kremlin ally Assad.
Putin admitted that relations have worsened in the three months that Trump has been in office.
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