April 21 (UPI) — The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is expected to arrive in waters near the Korean peninsula early next week, according to a Japanese news report.
The carrier and its strike group is to sail to areas near North Korea after completing its training mission with the Australian navy, the Asahi Shimbun reported Saturday, local time.
A U.S. 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 U.S. 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, following reports the aircraft carrier and its strike group had not been deployed to the Korean peninsula as announced.
“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.”
The U.S. Navy said on Friday a Carl Vinson fighter pilot was safely ejected during training in the Celebes Sea.
The pilot suffered no injuries and was rescued by helicopter, according to CNN.