Amid soaring tensions ahead of North Korea's apparent preparations for a sixth nuclear test, the US Navy on April 8 said it was directing a naval strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson carrier to "sail north" from the waters off Singapore, as a "prudent measure" to deter Pyongyang.
The USS Carl Vinson's strike group is now in the Philippine Sea, where it's taking part in joint exercises with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, including two Japanese destroyers.
The military exercise appeared to be a simulation of an attack on a maritime fleet similar to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive near the Korean peninsula later this week.
Amid escalating tension with North Korea, a San Diego Navy destroyer started two days of exercises with South Korea's navy off the Korean peninsula.
"The US should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic effect from its foolish military provocative act", Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary on Monday.
North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday.
Over the past year North Korea's missile program has apparently progressed, despite some spectacular launch failures involving intermediate range mobile launched missiles.
North Korea showed off its newest weapons, including prototype ICBMs and midrange solid-fuel missiles, at the April 15 parade honoring late state founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.
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The Trump administration has said all options, including a military strike, are on the table.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency says six launchers, some intercept missiles and at least one radar have been deployed. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will do the briefing, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
The editorial said it was a "big miscalculation" for Washington to compare North Korea to the situation of Syria.
A joint statement from the agency heads made no specific mention of military options, though it said the United States would defend itself and its allies.
The US Armed Services Committee hearing comes a day after all 100 senators received a classified briefing at the White House about the crisis with North Korea.
Concerned: Admiral Harry B Harris Jr (left) says the USA needs to assume Kim Jong Un has nuclear capabilities, or will soon.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said those meetings called by USA officials clearly reflected the US pressure that could "ignite a full-out war" on the Korean peninsula.
The US officials have repeatedly warned North Korea to curb their weapon ambitions and strikes as the new US president indicated he will not allow North Korea to develop a missile which can reach the US at any cost.