The U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and multiple destroyers to sail toward the western Pacific Ocean within days of North Korea's latest missile test and threats to unleash more.
"We feel the increased presence is necessary," a military official told Reuters, citing North Korea's latest missile release.
The isolated nation on Wednesday launched a lackluster Scud missile that flew only 36 miles, according to South Korea’s military.
The show of naval force follows President Trump's airstrike against a Syrian airbase on Thursday in retaliation for a deadly chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians, including children.
The San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier will be joined by three guided-missile destroyers, the USS Wayne E. Meyer, USS Michael Murphy and the USS Lake Champlain, all of which have been deployed since Jan. 5, U.S. Third Fleet officials said in a statement.
The strike force had been docked in Singapore with about 6,500 sailors on board since April 4 and was scheduled to visit Australia next, officials said. The port visit followed two weeks of routine operations with joint-martine exercises with South Korea and Japan in the Asia-Pacific region.
On Friday, Trump spoke to South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn and pledged to “stay in close touch” about North Korea but a White House readout made no mention of the Navy’s plan to send ships toward the peninsula.