US aircraft carrier to reach waters near NKorea next week

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The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

The U.S. Navy says an aircraft carrier that is intended as a show of force to North Korea will arrive in the region next week.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement on Wednesday the USS Carl Vinson strike group was heading to the western Pacific “as a prudent measure.”

The U.S. is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. Vice President Mike Pence said on an Asian tour this week the era of “strategic patience” with North Korea was over.

The Pacific Command statement said the Carl Vinson canceled a scheduled visit to Australia after leaving Singapore on April 8th, but completed a shortened training exercise off northwestern Australia before heading north.

The Vinson is accompanied by a destroyer ship with an Aegis combat system to track and intercept missiles.

The United States periodically sends aircraft carrier strike groups to waters near the Korean Peninsula to project power. The Carl Vinson took part last month in the U.S.-South Korea war games.