North Korea has threatened to give a nuclear response to any aggression, as a US-led strike group approaches the Korean Peninsula.
Two Japanese navy ships joined an originally American strike group en route to Korean waters, Japanese sources said on Sunday.
The two Japanese warships left western Japan on Friday to join the Carl Vinson strike force in what is intended to be a show of force against North Korea, whose ballistic missile and military nuclear programs have caused concern in Washington.
North Korean media on Saturday quoted official sources as reiterating Pyongyang’s military readiness to respond to any aggression.
The US is “seeking to bring nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups one after another to the waters off the Korean Peninsula. Such intimidation and blackmail can never frighten” North Korea, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.
Meanwhile, both North Korea and the US have downplayed the threats of military action by the other party.Pentagon chief Jim Mattis called North Korea’s threats of launching a nuclear strike against the US “empty,” while Pyongyang said US officials were “spouting a string of rubbish” by threatening to invade North Korea.
War remains likely, nevertheless.Pyongyang continues to pursue its military nuclear program, which it says acts as deterrence against a potential invasion by its adversaries, the US in particular.