by Courtney Kube and Phil Helsel
The U.S. military has ordered an aircraft carrier group to move closer to the Korean Peninsula in response to recent provocations by North Korea, a U.S. defense official said Saturday.
Adm. Harry Harris ordered the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group to travel north from Singapore to the Western Pacific Ocean, Pacific Command said in a news release.
The U.S. official said the strike group will provide a show of presence in the region. Since March, North Korea has twice carried out ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations resolutions. It has also conducted five suspected nuclear tests, including two last year.
Within hours of the U.S. announcement, North Korea vowed to boost its defenses. A foreign ministry official told the country’s state-run news agency that recent U.S. airstrikes on Syria proved that it needed to protect itself against Washington.