World

TOKYO – USS Carl Vinson, an American aircraft carrier, is expected to arrive in waters near the Korean peninsula early next week, according to a Japanese newspaper report.

The Asahi Shimbun reported Saturday that the carrier and its strike group is to sail to areas near North Korea after completing its training mission with the Australian navy.

A US military official who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity said the Carl Vinson’s scheduled return to the United States would also be delayed by a month.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is currently stationed at the U.S. military base in Yokosuka, Japan, but is undergoing maintenance and would not be able to be deployed immediately in the event of an emergency, according to the report.

Maintenance work on the carrier is one of the reasons why the US military is keen to “leave no gap” in Northeast Asia, the report stated.

The United States is also strengthening its reinforcements ahead of April 25, when North Korea is expected to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army.

Experts have stated there is a possibility North Korea could conduct a sixth nuclear test.

North Korea has said it is not afraid of the Carl Vinson. “The closer it approaches, the greater the impact of the effect of annihilating punishment,” the statement read. “We will not allow survival for those who threaten our existence.”

Russia and China, two key players in the conflict other than Japan, South Korea and US, have also been deploying their troops and tanks near their respective borders with North Korea over fears the US is preparing to attack Kim Jong-un.

Footage emerged on Thursday showed trains loaded with military equipment moving towards Primorsky region via Khabarovsk, in Russia’s south east.

President Putin fears there will be a huge exodus of North Korean refugees if his American counterpart, Donald Trump, launches military action against Pyongyang.

The naval port of Vladivostok – where Russia has huge military forces – is less than 100 miles from North Korea.

China has also deployed 150,000 soldiers to its southern frontier to cope with the tidal wave of North Koreans Beijing fears would flee across the border if war breaks out.