The United States says it has deployed a second guided-missile destroyer in the Pacific to waters off the Korean Peninsula as tensions mount with North Korea.
On Monday, US defense officials said that the USS John McCain was being positioned to operate off the Korean Peninsula.
On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said the McCain had arrived at a “pre-determined location” in the western Pacific.
Little also said that the USS Decatur, another destroyer, had also been deployed 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,” he added.
On Monday, it was reported that the USS Fitzgerald would be sent to waters off the Korean Peninsula, but the destroyer was only among the ships under consideration for the deployment. Finally, the Fitzgerald was not sent to the area.
On Sunday, the United States sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea as part of military exercises with the Southeast Asian country.
On Saturday, Pyongyang announced that it is in a “state of war” with South Korea, warning that any provocation by Seoul and Washington will trigger an all-out nuclear war.
Pyongyang said henceforth “the North-South relations will be entering a state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly.”
“The long-standing situation of the Korean Peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over,” said a statement issued jointly by the government, political parties and other organizations.
Pyongyang also warned that if Washington and Seoul launched a preemptive attack, the conflict “will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.”
Last week, North Korea said that its military should be prepared to attack “all US military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including the US mainland, Hawaii, and Guam” and South Korea.
The announcement came days after South Korea and the US signed a new military pact in response to what they called even low-level provocations by Pyongyang.
On March 11, Seoul and Washington launched a week-long annual joint military maneuver near the Korean Peninsula despite warnings from Pyongyang. The maneuver involved 10,000 South Korean soldiers and about 3,000 US troops.