Tensions Grow Near Korea as Russia and China Send Ships to Shadow U.S. Carrier Task Force

As expected, military matters involving North Korea are heating up. Intelligence-gathering ships from both China and Russia have been deployed to the waters near North Korea to monitor the U.S. naval task force already in the area led by the carrier USS Stennis. While this is not a sign of impending conflict between the navies of Russia and China and that of the U.S., it does demonstration how intensely interested those two nations are in learning as much about U.S. carrier task force operations as possible.

It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea. The Self-Defense Forces are strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.

The aircraft carrier strike group, composed of the Carl Vinson at its core with guided-missile destroyers and other vessels, is understood to be around the East China Sea and heading north toward waters near the Korean Peninsula.

The Russians and Chinese are also moving ships to the area to underscore the concerns they've expressed that matters be settled without resort to hostilities. Clearly, they do not want a war on their doorsteps that might turn nuclear.

China and Russia, which prioritize stability in the Korean Peninsula, showed concern over the tough U.S. stance, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the issue should be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic efforts.

All of that said, here's the statement that illustrates the big if:

By conducting joint exercises with the Maritime Self-Defense Force [of Mapan] and through other means, the U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is poised to increase military pressure on North Korea and urge Pyongyang to engage in restraint.

What is not known is if North Korea will respond with restraint to all of this pressure, or whether it will respond with increasingly provocative actions and rhetoric. Millions of lives potentially hang in the ballance.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune



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