Japanese, US navies plan joint show of force

TOKYO: Japan’s navy plans a joint show of force with the US Navy’s USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group as it steams towards the Korean peninsula aimed at deterring secretive North Korean regime from further missile tests, two sources said.
With tension growing markedly, the Korean peninsula is the closest it has been to a “military clash” since Pyongyang’s first nuclear test in 2006, an influential state-run Chinese newspaper said on Wednesday.
North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile activities “for its own security”, the Global Times said in an editorial.
While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.
Concerned at the rapid pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile development, Japan’s navy plans to conduct exercises with the Vinson strike carrier group, two sources said on condition of anonymity.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) and the US Navy could conduct helicopter landings on each other’s ships, as well as communication drills, as the US ships pass through waters close to Japanese territory, the sources said.
“Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,” one of them said.
One the people who spoke to this agency has direct knowledge of the plan, while the other has been briefed on the exercises. MSDF officials did not respond immediately when asked for comment.
A senior Japanese diplomat said it appeared the US position was to put maximum pressure on North Korea to reach a solution peacefully and diplomatically.
“At least, if you consider overall things such as the fact that the US government has not put out warnings to its citizens in South Korea, I think the risk (of military action) at this point is not high,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be identified.
— Reuters