A naval strike group ordered by Donald Trump into waters off Korea remains far away as delayed deployment raises eyebrows about effectiveness of US strategy.
American Vice-President Mike Pence is in Japan on his tour of Pacific and Asian allies, reassuring them of America’s unwavering support.
But the US naval armada President Trump said he was deploying to the Korean theatre is not yet on station, and communications around the activities of the Carl Vinson strike group have been confused over the last 48 hours.
Mixed signals are a weak deterrent warn analysts, but Pence sounded strong.
“You can rest assured, the full range of the United States military capabilities is dedicated to the protection of Japan. Japan you are our friend, you are our ally,” said Pence.
The US naval deployment and ratcheting up of tensions follows North Korean missile tests and boasts of a new intercontinental missile capability, hailing technological progress on the occasion of the 105 anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung.
The celebrations have included military parades, inflammatory statements about nuclear warfare, and a musical extravaganza featuring a video released to mock the USA.
The video depicts America’s destruction under a hail of nuclear warheads delivered from space by North Korean missiles.