CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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USS Carl Vinson Redeployed off Korean Peninsula as North Korea Prepares for New Nuclear Bomb Test

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(Photo : US Navy) Carrier Strike Group One and the USS Carl Vinson.

The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and her Carrier Strike Group One (CSG-1) have been redeployed northwards from the South China Sea to patrol the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea) off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula.

The United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) based in Hawaii said CVN-70 was being sent to waters off North Korea "to maintain readiness" as Kim Jong Un's regime prepares to explode another nuclear weapon. The carrier is escorted by two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers belonging to Destroyer Squadron 1.

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The erratic communist nation will also celebrate important national anniversaries over the next two weeks, which should see it launch more ballistic missiles to drive home the message it can deal with any attack by the U.S. similar to the cruise missile strike it launched against Syria on April 7.

North Korea on April 15 will celebrate the 105th birthday of its founding president, Kim Il Sung, the man who ignited the Korean War on June 25, 1950. It will mark the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People's Army on April 25. Both events will be highlighted by massive military parades.

"The U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific," said Dave Benham, USPACOM spokesman.

"The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability."

The Vinson CSG last month took part  in joint drills with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces (ROKAF) to prepare for any sudden change on the peninsula. These changes might include a collapse of the North Korean regime or an invasion of South Korea by the north.

North Korea has been testing medium-range missiles since early 2016 and Kim in January said North Korea had "entered the final stage of preparation for a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile" capable of hitting the mainland United States.

The USS Carl Vinson is the flagship of CSG-1. Units assigned to CSG-1 are the USS Carl Vinson; Carrier Air Wing Seventeen; the Ticonderoga-class cruisers USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 1.

The offensive power off Carrier Air Wing Seventeen rests on its four squadrons of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 strike fighters totaling over 40 jets.

The U.S. Navy deployed CSG-1 to the disputed waters of the South China Sea on Feb. 18, a month later than originally expected. The Vinson belongs to the United States Third Fleet with its garrison at Naval Base Point Loma in California.

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