From the article on RT: Japanese destroyers join US strike group amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
The Japanese warships, destroyers ‘Ashigara’ and ‘Samidare’, left the navy’s Sasebo base early on Friday for a rendezvous with the ‘USS Carl Vinson’ group off North Korean shores, NHK reports.
Defense Ministry officials said the details of the joint US-Japan naval exercise are yet to be determined. The drill comes as an apparent show of force aimed at deterring North Korea, which will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its military next week.
The source added that the drills would involve helicopter landings on both American and Japanese ships as well as communications training.
The American strike group includes Nimitz-class aircraft carrier ‘USS Carl Vinson’ with her air wing, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers ‘USS Wayne E. Meyer’ and ‘USS Michael Murphy’, as well as Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser ‘USS Lake Champlain’.
The strike group will operate in the region under the operational control of the 3rd Fleet as part of the 3rd Fleet Forward initiative, according to the US Navy.
Its arrival to the Western Pacific was marked by a string of conflicting statements from the White House and the Pentagon. Last week, US President Donald Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that “we are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful – far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”
The latest flare-up in tension between the US and North Korea has been triggered by reports that the state was about to conduct its sixth nuclear test or fire a nuclear-capable ballistic missile. Washington threatened to solve the ‘North Korean problem’ unilaterally, arguing that Pyongyang poses a threat to US interests in the region.
North Korea said it was ready to defend itself with all means available, including weapons of mass destruction. In a series of extraordinary statements, China, North Korea’s main trading partner and ally, warned that the region was on the brink of an all-out war.
Russia, which shares a land border with the hermit state, urged all parties to refrain from the use of military force.