A U.S. Navy spokesman said the Carl Vinson was on a regular, scheduled deployment to the region during which it would take part in exercises with the forces of ally South Korea.

Last week, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan in response to annual U.S.-South Korea military drills, which the North sees as preparation for war.

The murder in Malaysia last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother has added to a sense of urgency to efforts to handle North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to make his first visit to South Korea on Friday.

Last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said President Donald Trump’s administration was re-evaluating its North Korea strategy and “all options are on the table”.

Chinese opposition

Compounding regional tension, China is vehemently opposed to the deployment
in South Korea of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system.

The United States and South Korea say the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system is for defense against North Korea, but China fears its powerful radar can probe deep into its territory and compromise its security.

The United States began to deploy the system a week ago, a day after North Korea launched its latest four missile tests.

South Korean and U.S. troops began the large-scale joint drills, which are billed as defensive in nature, on March 1.



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