After two Japanese navy ships joined a US carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific, North Korea said on Sunday that it was ready to sink a United States aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might.
The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group was ordered by US President Donald Trump to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to rising tension over the North's nuclear and missile tests. This was also a move to give response to all those threats and attacks to the United States and its Asian allies.
However, the US has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area. On Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence said it would arrive "within days" but did not reveal any other details.
In response to this North Korea remained defiant. "Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike," the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling Workers'Party, said in a commentary.
The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a "gross animal" and said a strike on it would be "an actual example to show our military's force". The commentary was carried on page three of the newspaper, after a two-page feature about leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a pig farm.
North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday. In the past, it has marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.
Till now, Pyongyan has already conducted five nuclear tests, two of which were tested last year. At present, it is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States. The North has also carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions. Analysts say that the growing nuclear and missile threat of North Korea is perhaps the most serious security challenge confronting Trump.
Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the US with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military strike.
North Korea is on a quest to develop a long-range missiles that will be capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead. It has also threatened to lay waste to South Korea and Japan.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that the recent statements of North Korea were provocative but had proven to be hollow in the past and should not be trusted. "We've all come to hear their words repeatedly, their word has not proven honest," Mattis told a news conference in Tel Aviv, before the latest threat to the aircraft carrier.
Meanwhile, Japan's navy, which is mostly a destroyer fleet, is the second largest in Asia after China's, has joined the US strike group for military drills as it nears the Korean waters, On Friday, two Japanese warships, the Samidare and Ashigara, left western Japan to join the Carl Vinson.
The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force said in a statement that they will "practice a variety of tactics" with the US strike group. The Japanese force did not specify where the exercises were taking place. South Korea has put is forces on heightened alert.