US Navy moves towards Korean Peninisula

The Navy strike group has been sent to the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence in the area

US Navy moves towards Korean Peninisula

File photo: The USS Gerald R. Ford embarks on its first set of sea trials. Image: Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via AP

A US Navy strike group is moving towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force aimed at North Korea.

The Pentagon has confirmed that the group – which includes an aircraft carrier – has been sent to the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence in the area.

Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile - hailing the test as a significant advance in its weapons programme.

Experts believe the ‘Scud’ missile only travelled a fraction of its range.

North Korean officials – including the country’s leader Kim Jong Un have repeatedly indicated that an intercontinental ballistic missile test could soon be attempted.

Officials have suggested a test could occur as soon as April 15th – the 105th birthday of the regime’s first supreme leader, Kim Il Sung - celebrated annually as "the Day of the Sun."

The tests up to now have raised tensions in the region - where US Navy ships are a relatively common presence.

On Saturday US President Donald Trump spoke to South Korea’s acting president Kyo-Ahn over the phone.

A White House spokesperson said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.

The US Navy strike group left Singapore on Saturday, according to a Navy news release.

The carrier group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with support from several missile destroyers and missile cruisers.

Earlier this week, President Trump met with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping in Florida.

Mr Trump reportedly pushed for China to take on a bigger role in curbing North Korea's nuclear program.