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U.S. carrier strike group heads toward Korea

His comments followed the sudden deployment of the U.S. Navy's Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its associated group of strike vessels in the direction of the peninsula Sunday and what many considered an alarming display of U.S. military force in Syria Thursday night.

South Korea's presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in on Monday expressed concerns over a possible US strike against North Korea, saying there should not be any military action on the Korean Peninsula without Seoul's consent.

The US Pacific Command ordered the group - which includes several missile destroyers and cruisers - to sail north from Singapore on Saturday, according to the US Navy.

North Korea on Wednesday fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan ahead of a U.S. There were conflicting accounts about how far it flew.

During a 20-minute phone call Saturday, Trump told South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-Ahn, that he had "in-depth discussions about North Korea's serious nuclear problems and how to respond to them" during his summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, according to the South Korean leader's office.

He described a "shared view and no disagreement as to how unsafe the situation has become".

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

Lieu tweeted on Sunday, "Unlike Syria, N. Korea has nukes & can rain down artillery on S. Korea". "It is important to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by resolving the issues of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles wisely".

"I think the United States has seen China for 25-plus years say that they are concerned about North Korea, but we haven't seen them act like they are concerned about North Korea", Haley said.

The White House said Trump spoke on Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the US cruise missile attack on an airbase in Syria and agreed to cooperate more on regional issues including the North Korea nuclear threat.

A US official told Reuters on Saturday the increased presence was necessary given North Korea's recent provocative behavior.

Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp. think tank, said in an email to CNN that the movement of the Vinson strike group to Korean waters is likely defensive in nature.

"Because North Korea places most of its assets underground, it will be hard for the Vinson group to do a lot of damage to North Korea on its own", he said.

But instead, the Carl Vinson has been redirected back to the Korean peninsula, creating an air of uncertainty and prompting an address by South Korea's defense ministry on Monday.

The nuclear-powered, 97,000-ton Vinson, one of 10 active U.S. aircraft carriers, has more than 60 aircraft and about 5,000 personnel.

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