US War Ships Go To North Korea From Singapore
Events in North Korea may seen very distant to Singaporeans who are preoccupied with their own work, families and hobbies.
But Singapore’s playing a very direct role in the potential escalation of hostilities between North Korea and the United States, whether we like it or not.
And we may not have known that, if not for a video released on Facebook in which CNN reports that there was an armada of 4 US battleships at Changi Naval Base — and these ships are bound for North Korea in the latest bit of sabre-rattling between the countries.
According to CNN, the 4 ships, USS Carl Vinson, USS Wayne E.Meyer, USS Michael Murphy and USS Lake Champlain, are part of an aircraft carrier strike group.
The ships are en route to the Korean Peninsula, cancelling a planned trip to Australia. A statement on April 9 posted on the US Navy website confirmed that the warships had set sail from Singapore on April 8, and will be stationed to operate in the western Pacific Ocean, a stone’s throw away from the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea-US Tensions
North Korea has never been the friendliest country to the West, but now things are getting pretty heated.
The reclusive state has carried out a number of nuclear and ballistic missile tests in the last few years, the most recent being a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan on April 5, ahead of the first meeting of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington.
The tests carried out by North Korea are in violation of United Nations resolutions, and have rattled regional neighbours South Korea and Japan, as well as caused alarm worldwide.
It looks like the US has had enough after the latest nuclear test, and has sent the nuclear strike group to intimidate North Korea.
US officials have also indicated that Mr Trump was considering tougher sanctions against the recalcitrant state.
However, North Korea doesn’t seem fazed, as it said on Tuesday (April 11) that it “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US”.
It also vowed to counter the US’ “reckless acts of aggression”.
As another apparent sign that North Korea is preparing for war, leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the evacuation of 600,000 people from North Korean capital Pyongyang, reported The Express.
Day Of The Sun
Worse still, this Saturday (April 15) is an important day for North Korea — the Day Of The Sun, which commemorates the birthday of late North Korean founding leader Kim Il Sung.
And what does North Korea do on such big days? Instead of fireworks, it turns to nuclear missiles instead.
In 2012, the isolated state attempted to launch a long-range rocket, but failed. In 2016, it tested an intermediate-range missile.
And there are fears that North Korea will do something big, in a nuclear way, to mark April 15 this time round.
The 38 North think-tank, which monitors North Korea’s activities, said on Wednesday (April 12) that the country was ready to launch a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, according to satellite imagery.
And The Voice of America has also reported that North Korea “has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated on Saturday am Korea time”.
Mr Trump, in typical fashion, made several tweets earlier this week, warning North Korea of the possible repercussions if it were to detonate its nuclear device.
North Korea’s strongest ally so far has been China, but Mr Trump’s tweets indicate that even China’s patience seems to be wearing thin.
While China has called for a peaceful resolution, it doesn’t matter if like Mr Trump said, the US is prepared to act on its own to neutralise the threat — i.e. by carrying out an actual military strike on North Korea, which the USS Carl Vinson strike group will undoubtedly play a part in.
Singapore’s Helping The US
What a mess — and Singapore may be a small faraway island, but we’re in the thick of it.
By clearly having an alliance with the US, evident through our allowing US warships to be here and ready to head to the troubled regions in Asia like North Korea, we hope Singapore doesn’t get on the wrong side of North Korea.
But judging from recent events, it seems nearly everybody in the world is on the wrong side of North Korea. It’s even managed to quarrel with our neighbour Malaysia.
We also hope somebody manages to stop North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as we don’t want a nuclear apocalypse in East Asia — South Korea and Japan are very popular holiday destinations for Singaporeans.
Featured image from Facebook