U.S. deploys warship as tensions over North Korea rise

WASHINGTON Tue Apr 2, 2013 3:35pm EDT

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain approaches the aircraft carrier USS George Washington for a fueling at sea in this December 5, 2010 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cheng S. Yang/Handout

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain approaches the aircraft carrier USS George Washington for a fueling at sea in this December 5, 2010 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cheng S. Yang/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Tuesday that a second U.S. guided-missile destroyer had taken position in the western Pacific on a missile defense mission, as tensions rise over North Korea's threats of war against the United States and its ally, South Korea.

The announcement is the latest confirmation of minor adjustments to the posture of the U.S. military, which is seeking to reassure allies in Seoul and Tokyo of American military capabilities to respond to any moves by Pyongyang.

U.S. defense officials announced on Monday that the USS John McCain, an Aegis-class guided-missile destroyer used for ballistic missile defense, was being put into position to operate off the Korean peninsula.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Tuesday the McCain had arrived at a "pre-determined location" in the western Pacific. He added that another destroyer, the USS Decatur, had also taken position in the western Pacific "to perform a missile defense mission as assigned by our combatant commander."

"They (the McCain and the Decatur) will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory," Little said.

The Pentagon denied reports that a floating, X-band radar was being deployed to the waters off Japan, saying no decisions had been made about what would be done with the radar once at-sea testing in the region was finished.

The radar is used to track an adversary's missiles as part of a missile defense system.

"It's incorrect to tie the (radar) at this point to what's happening on the Korean peninsula right now," Little said.

News of the latest U.S. move to bolster missile defenses around the Korean peninsula came as North Korea said on Tuesday it would revive a mothballed nuclear reactor able to produce bomb-grade plutonium.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the crisis over North Korea had gone too far and he appealed for discussion and negotiation. "Nuclear threats are not a game. Aggressive rhetoric and military posturing only result in counter-actions, and fuel fear and instability," Ban, a South Korean, told a news conference during a visit to Andorra.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart. Editing by Warren Strobel, Jackie Frank and Paul Simao)

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Comments (8)
Nuakyei wrote:
North Korea should not underestimated US sea, air and military power bcos South Korea will always be protected by America

Apr 02, 2013 4:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
explorer08 wrote:
I feel terribly sorry for the average person on the street in North Korea. They are so brainwashed they have zero idea about the reality of the situation. Their destruction would be utterly complete in such a conflict.

Apr 02, 2013 6:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Battlecat2012 wrote:
Kim Jong – UN, you need to take a good look at yourself and the Hornets nest that YOU have stirred, and think very very hard about your next move, because you could be responsible for the possible deaths of tens of thousands, if not millions of your own people. Why? Why do you feel this need to plunge your own people into chaos, and those of South Korea and Japan? Why put your troops and your stone age forces into a war they could never win? America and the rest of the world will slam down hard on your leadership, your military, and inevitably but hopefully not, your own innocent men, women and children.

There are B2s, B52s, F22s, Radar Stations, Aircraft Carriers and other ships just off shore in international waters, all of them easily within striking range of YOU.

So, before you lose the lives of so many of your people, not to mention your own, think about what you have done so far, think about what is out there waiting, and think very hard about what will come if you go over the line.

Stand down NOW, and none of this will happen. Get back to the negotiating table and TALK, reverse the decision to re open the Nuclear Reactor at Yongbyon. Dismantle it for good. Come back from the brink, and do the right thing for not only your people, but for the people of the whole world, before it’s too late.

Apr 02, 2013 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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