WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has ordered The USS Theodore Roosevelt to the western Pacific amid reports that North Korea is about to test a nuclear weapon with capabilities of reaching the United States.
According to military officials, the vessel is expected to join the build-up of warships along the North Korean border.
Admiral Steve Koehler, a strike group commander on the ship, said 7,500 sailors are on board the ship and “ready as a war fighting force”.
“The US Navy carrier strike group is the most versatile, capable force at sea,” he said in a statement before the ship’s launch.
“After nearly a year of training and integration exercises, the entire team is ready as a warfighting force and ready to carry out the nation’s tasking.”
The announcement follows cryptic remarks by President Donald Trump last week as he was hosting a dinner for military commanders and their spouses that the event was “the calm before the storm”.
When pressed for clarification, the president refused to comment other than to say, “you’ll soon see”.
Constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz said of the president’s comments that they were a warning to North Korea and Iran not to fool with the United States (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/alan-dershowitz-trumps-calm-before-the-storm-is-a-message-to-north-korea-and-iran/article/2636914).
“North Korea and Iran are taking the measure of President Trump to see how far they can push him and how much they can get away with,” Dershowitz said in an opinion piece for The Washington Examiner. “If these worrisome actions by the two rogue nations persist, there will be a storm.”
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have reached a fever pitch over the course of the past several months. In a series of recent Tweets, President Trump said as diplomatic alternatives continue to fail, use of military force against North Korean leader Kim Jung Un may be America’s only option.
In an interview with Russian media agency TASS (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-trump/north-korea-says-trump-has-lit-the-wick-of-war-russias-tass-agency-idUSKBN1CG28W), North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said in response, “With his bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of a war against us.”
“We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words,” he warned.